Nico’s brows raised at the challenge as he sent an even larger splash in Sam’s direction, mischief gleaming in his eyes. He wasn’t smiling quite as widely as Sam was – though he was smiling, an expression that softened his features and made him seem a little more his age. He lifted his arm to protect from Sam’s next splash, well before Sam could actually put any strength into it. It was also an excuse to shield his face as he took in how Sam looked at the moment. He looked so alive in a way he hadn’t looked in any other room before this. Nico felt his heart twinge, grateful he could pass it off as exertion from paddling. If his heart didn’t calm down and let him exist in peace with his friend, he was going to find Aphrodite and yell at her. Maybe. He wasn’t going to let another stupid crush ruin anything, not when he had a friend for the first time in what felt like forever. Even as his friend, though, Nico could tell that Sam was different in this room. This was a Sam who knew how to live, who knew how to enjoy himself. Nico, too, was different. This Nico had let down his walls, or had at least opened the gates to Sam. He pushed himself forward, forcing his kayak closer to Sam so he could get close enough to deliver some better splashes. Or maybe to just bask in the light that Sam was putting off. His aura might have been dead, but it was lighter now. It wasn’t flickering so much as it was just… dim. Which, for vampires (as far as Nico could tell), was practically as bright as the sun.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Aug 19, 2020 21:48:37 GMT -5
Sam stopped paddling his boat for a second, letting Nico catch up. Water splashed over him and he laughed again, shaking out some of it from his hair. Some of it had gotten into the kayak as well. He turned the small vessel around until it was horizontal to Nico's, blocking his path. "'Thou shall not pass,'" Sam said, giggling a bit as he said it. He used his paddle to scoop another small splash of water in Nico's direction as he did. He was soaked, but not particularly tired. They'd probably scared any nearby fish, but he wasn't thinking too much about that. He was focused much more on Nico. He could hear his heartbeat, see the smile. He hadn't thought he'd seen Nico smile like this before. It made his own smile larger and more real. He wanted to try and make Nico's larger too, to see if there was any way to make this more special. But he wasn't very focused on it. He just wanted this moment to be stronger and brighter.
Although Nico didn’t understand the reference, he couldn’t help the way his smile widened and he almost laughed. Almost. Still, it was more than he usually gave to people. Most people had to work to even earn a smile from Nico, but Sam had coaxed far more from him in the course of just one room. One room where they were allowed to just be kids playing in a lake rather than anything serious. “Who’s gonna stop me?” he asked mischievously, making a sharp turn before winking at Sam just as he was forced to duck away from the water splashed in his direction. He looked for a moment like he was going to try to make a break for it around Sam, but he stopped instead, paddling backwards a bit so his kayak lined up perfectly with Sam’s, the sides of them brushing up against each other. “I’ve got a really dumb idea,” he said before shaking his head firmly to fling off any particularly large water droplets. He pushed his hair back away from his face, revealing the whole of it for the first time in a while. He smiled again, shrugging his jacket off before holding on to Sam’s kayak and pushing himself to a standing position in his. “Careful,” he warned, “this might rock the boat a little.” Avoiding direct contact with Sam as best he could, he clambered onto the front of Sam’s kayak and sent his own drifting away. He perched there, inches away from Sam for just a moment before he pushed himself to a standing position at the “helm” of the kayak. “Onwards!” he announced, striking a pose before glancing back at Sam. “If you want we can switch places in a bit. I just… thought it would be fun.” If anyone asked, Nico would deny he was blushing. It was just from the exertion of pushing himself onto Sam’s kayak. That was only sort of a lie.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Sept 6, 2020 2:52:21 GMT -5
It was with a bit of astonishment and excitement that Sam watched as Nico slowly pushed himself onto Sam's kayak. Sam laughed after a second and look past Nico as the second one drifted away. "Well, I suppose if you're not passing, you can always join me!" he said happily. He took the paddle and slowly started pushing them forward, just so Nico could be sure he had his feet under him. Hopefully he did. Sam would have to be sure to watch to be sure. "This does look fun," he confirmed. He was enjoying himself. He could heart Nico's heart beating. It was fast, but it was comfortably so. Not like the last room, when he'd been so hungry. And he still was, a bit, but it was easily ignoble in the face of Nico being happy. In the face of Sam being happy. "Well, Captain?" he asked Nico, turning the kayak a bit. "Where are we headed?"
Nico wobbled for a second before he was sure he had caught his balance, then turned back and smiled at Sam so the boy knew he was okay. He spread his arms out, enjoying the fact that Sam could row faster than most ordinary people could. Faster than Nico could, surely. It was the wind blowing through his hair, pushing it back out of his face so all of it could be seen – a sight that was rare enough. He took a deep breath, then lowered himself closer to the kayak so he wouldn’t be so worried about having to balance. “We could do a couple laps around the lake… er… reservoir, whatever. See what there is to see, maybe scare away a few turtles or birds or something on accident.” If they were going fast enough, Nico would at least have the peace of mind of knowing that they had been startled by the movement of the kayak, not by the encroaching scent of death. He stood back up again, turning his head so Sam could see his smile too. He didn’t want to keep this one secret. This he wanted to share with Sam.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Sept 10, 2020 0:29:21 GMT -5
"Bet you there fish too," Sam said happily. He was looking around at the mention of birds. That was simply because he was very attached to birds. He had a necklace with one for a reason. "I've never seen a turtle before," he admitted brightly. "Scaring one should be an experience." He kept rowing. It seemed likely that Nico would see something interesting if they kept exploring. The sun was tipping near the horizon, so Sam wondered if the would be owls, or frogs, or fireflies. Fireflies would look so pretty right now. He'd probably have to angle a bit closer to land for that, but Sam didn't mind. Nico had said to circle the lake. So he did that by heading near to the arching branches of the nearby trees.
“Might be too dark to see fish,” Nico mused, glancing at the way the water seemed to be turning inky black as the sun made its way further down the horizon. It would be completely dark soon, and though most kids might have been afraid, they weren’t most kids. They were a vampire and a demigod who had lived most of his recent life in the darkness. For once, maybe they could use their experiences to their advantage. For once, they could enjoy themselves and not have to worry about being “normal” because what they were was just fine. More than fine. They didn’t have to be afraid. “They make a fun little splash when they get scared,” he added, glancing over his shoulder at Sam. He looked like a different boy, almost. Same thin figure, same scars, same deathly pale skin and eyes that looked a bit too tired. But he was smiling, and he didn’t need to hide behind his jacket, and there was something very alive in his expression now. He leaned forward, almost tipping the kayak over as his gaze caught on something near the shoreline. “There,” he whispered, shifting so Sam could see it too. “I wasn’t sure if there would be any here.” There were five or six slowly winking to life, their wings lifting them off the ground as they flew and flickered, the reflection of their lights dancing in the water.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Sept 10, 2020 0:48:27 GMT -5
This was a great example of just how much these two, special and different, could have something no one else could. Sam's eyes reflected the light of the fireflies like tiny suns were trapped in his eyes. He leaned toward the edge of the boat and tried to catch sight of more of them. Then he looked to Nico with the same bright look. "Have you seen them before?" he asked, astonished. He moved closer to Nico's end of the boat (not too close that Nico would get uncomfortable hopefully) and Sam pointed toward the shifting lights. "Think we can get closer?" They were light tiny stars and he wanted to seem them up close. Not to catch them - that felt as bad as trying to tame the wind - but enough to be just a bit closer to them. He paddled in that direction, checking on Nico as he went.
Nico looked at met Sam’s eyes, his heart stopping in his chest for just one moment. While the fireflies were brighter when he looked directly at them, there was something magical about the way they reflected in Sam’s eyes. He didn’t stop to remind his heart they were supposed to be friends this time. It didn’t matter what they were to each other in that moment, just that they were two people sharing something nobody else could – at least not in the same way. “Yes,” he replied quietly, “There are lots in New York, if you get away from the city. There weren’t any where I was growing up, though. The first time I saw them at Camp… well, I couldn’t believe it. They’re like… they’re like tiny stars.” Maybe that was a bit fanciful for a boy who had seen the way the world could be cruel. That didn’t mean he wasn’t allowed to appreciate the things in it that were beautiful. “If we paddle close enough, they might be willing to land on your hands,” he informed Sam. “If you hold one and peer into your hands, they look even brighter.”
Post by mintedstar/fur on Sept 10, 2020 1:08:55 GMT -5
(“If you hold one and peer into your hands, they look even brighter.” If you do this with Sam, he'll look brighter too. //eyebrow wiggle. )
"Really?" asked Sam, his eyes wide and reflective. Bright, so bright. "That sounds so beautiful." Then Nico voiced his same idea, that they looked like stars, and Sam lit up again like he was the one who was trying to produce the most light. "Exactly! They look so pretty. Like there's just this set of stars, made just so everyone on earth can feel a bit closer to them." He slowly pushed the boat closer, excitement bubbling in his throat. He could hear Nico's heartbeat and it felt special. Like the world had a pulse that he share in. The boat slowed as he stopped paddling, skating forward.
“We’ll just have to get close enough that you can see it for yourself,” Nico replied decisively, taking a step forward so he was almost balancing on the very tip of the kayak (his back leg remained planted firmly in place so the kayak wouldn’t tip over). He could see more of them beginning to light up now, and the air was filling with the soft chirping of crickets. Though he lived in a city, Nico had to admit he much preferred places like this. Untouched and natural, without too many people. Yes, the no people (other than Sam, he didn’t count as people in the way Nico meant – the “demand too much and are hard to read and don’t seem to understand the way Nico interacted with the world” way) was a huge part of why he felt so comfortable here. He reached forward to grab onto the land when they were close enough, clambering off the canoe to lightly coax one of the fireflies onto his hand. He turned back to Sam and winked, bringing it closer. “Open your hands,” he instructed, settling at a distance that would likely have been too close for him if it hadn’t been Sam in this moment. “I’m gonna place this one in them.”
Post by mintedstar/fur on Sept 10, 2020 1:47:31 GMT -5
It was with a soft wariness that Sam reached out, hands extended so that he could do what Nico asked. He wasn't sure what to expect, but right now he just wanted ... He turned his gaze up to Nico's eyes and rather than the sunny, ear to ear smile of before, this one was soft and peaceful. This was too pretty for the same sort of excitement. Not big and loud, but soft enough to just allow for fireflies. "Thanks," he said happily.
“Of course,” Nico replied, letting his hands lightly brush against Sam’s as the firefly made its way from his to Sam’s. He gave Sam a soft smile before pulling away and stepping back to give Sam some space. He crossed his arms and waited to see Sam’s reaction to the firefly. To having one up close, seeing the way it glowed and explored the small space between his hands… yes, Nico wanted to see that happiness. I’m glad we’re friends. He was grateful Sam couldn’t read minds like Myrnin could, grateful, he could keep that thought to himself now because it was true, but he still needed to get used to the idea of letting Sam in entirely as a friend, even if moments like this made it worth it.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Sept 10, 2020 1:57:44 GMT -5
It was like watching a tiny lightbulb in his hand. Sam looked the little creature over and the light reflected off his eyes with an even stronger radiance now that he was so close to it. He glanced between it and Nico in succession, a smile of wonder having morphed and grown across his features. "It's pretty," he breathed. After another couple seconds, the firefly drifted away from Sam's hands and Sam didn't do anything to stop it. Instead, he watched it go until he lost track of it and then he looked at Nico. No peaceable expression, just a look. "Thanks."
Nico watched, his own small smile spreading across his face. He was crouched on the tip of the canoe, enough distance between him and Sam that everything felt safe, but close enough that he felt… well, close. Like this was a moment just for the two of them. He gave a small huff of amusement at Sam’s reaction, but he wasn’t laughing at him. Laughing more at himself, because never in a million years would he have allowed himself this moment unless the House had given it to him. “They tend to be, yeah,” he replied, watching as some more of them ventured out over the water. He flicked a bit of water into the reflection of one of them, watching as the reflection rippled and refracted, creating a few more before it settled. The firefly, thankfully, didn’t even get wet. “You don’t need to thank me,” he added after a moment. “This room is sort of… just what I needed.” He shrugged, hugging his knees against his chest (although in a more relaxed way than usual). “It’s sort of just what we needed.”
Post by mintedstar/fur on Sept 10, 2020 3:20:04 GMT -5
"It is," Sam confirmed agreeably. He alternated between looking at the fireflies and Nico. Nico seemed so open in this room and Sam was able to forget the fact that they both were closed off to each other. This room was exactly what he'd needed to be able to see that. It was after a couple more second that he tossed a couple of water droplets across the lake. The rising image of the moon wavered a bit as he did so. 'It's getting dark," he commented obviously. Was Nico okay with that? It was very pretty out here, if Sam was going to describe anything.
“It is,” Nico replied, glancing over at Sam. “I don’t see an issue with that, for a creature of the night and a boy made of shadows.” He knew he had a harder time seeing at night than Sam did, but as long as there were shadows nearby he felt safe. If something tried to attack, he could escape easily. Was it normal that his definition of safe just meant easy to escape? Best not to dwell on that for too long. “We can head back if you want, though.” He was sitting down now, straddling the kayak and letting his foot dangle in the water. It had been so long since he’d felt comfortable this close to a body of water. Was it the House or Sam that made him feel safer here? He glanced down, not looking Sam in the eye. If the other boy wanted to leave that was… fine. Even if Nico wanted the exact opposite.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Oct 5, 2020 1:27:43 GMT -5
But Sam didn't want to leave. And he didn't think that Nico did either. He looked at the other boy and shook his head. "No, I'm alright stay out here. So long as you're comfortable. I'm comfortable." They were two separate sentences. Sam didn't want Nico to think that he was only staying because he didn't want to, figuratively speaking, rock the boat. Sam leaned back, looking up at the stars. There were so many. He loved them. They were something that he couldn't describe, even if he wanted to, and they were bright and constant and you could see them from so many places and they'd be the same stars. They were Nico's stars too, weren't they? Something that they had in common and something which Nico could see and know that Sam saw them as well. "It's pretty out," he said. Even if he had been reminded that he belonged in the dark now. He could feel the small twinge of pain from that. But even still ... Nico might feel the same way about who he was. "It means we can see each other better than anyone else," Sam said after a second. Then he tilted his head to look at Nico. "If we're both supposed to be in the dark, that means we'll be able to understand each other more. Right?"
“I’m comfortable too,” Nico replied, more than a little bit grateful for the way Sam had separated his sentences. He might have misunderstood – he was good at misunderstanding, and then internalizing his misunderstanding until he was half convinced that everyone he knew hated him. It was easier with Sam, maybe because they were both at least a little awkward. Not that he would have ever said so to the other boy in case Sam thought he was incredibly smooth or something, but… it was nice to know he wasn’t the only one uncertain about everything sometimes. Nico let his gaze travel in the direction Sam’s had gone, staring up at the stars with an almost-smile touching his features. “We don’t see the stars as well in New York. You have to get really far away… I used to take the Labyrinth somewhere isolated to just… look at the stars and escape everyone sometimes,” he admitted, turning to look back down at Sam. “I agree,” he managed quietly, catching on the way the moon seemed to reflect in Sam’s eyes. If he didn’t watch himself, he was about to have it bad. Which was a phenomenally bad idea, he realized, as he jerked his head away to look back up at the sky so Sam wouldn’t see the blush building on his cheeks. “I guess that makes sense,” he murmured, letting the breeze carry his voice most of the way to Sam. “I’ve never really thought about it. I guess… I guess I’ve always associated being in the dark with being alone.” What he didn’t say was that he wasn’t so sure he wanted to be alone.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Oct 21, 2020 22:42:51 GMT -5
The places which Sam had been seemed so much more accessible than New York. To the stars, that was. It was sad, but at least it sounded it was still possible for Nico to get there somehow - to see what Sam could see. Sam continued gazing up for a little, listening to the small things that Nico said. His eyes traced over the constellations he recognized. There weren't many. Only the Big Dipper and Orion. But eventually his eyes draw back over to Nico. "Maybe the dark just has different sorts of people." Maybe just a bit wistful. To let him have nice people like Nico in a position to understand him. Sam pointed up then. "Which constellations do you know? Is it the Big Dipper or the Big Bear to you? Or something else?" He wanted to get both of their attention back on the room, rather than the perspective fact that they were just two lonely people in a boat. Maybe that was the best thing to be when you needed someone else.
“Maybe,” Nico mused quietly before shaking his head. “But I don’t think either of us really had a choice when it came to living in the dark.” It was true, even if it hurt. Nico hadn’t asked to be a son of Hades and given how Sam seemed to feel about being a vampire, Nico had a feeling Sam hadn’t wanted that either. Which just seemed cruel, when he thought about it too hard. Nico understood that most people thought of vampires as monsters, but there had to be some people who would prefer to be a vampire. Those people should have been the people turned, not twelve-year-old boys who just wanted to live their life normally. Nico forced his gaze down before Sam saw the righteous fury burning in his eyes. Nico couldn’t change either of their fates. What he could do, however, was enjoy whatever this was, whatever this room was giving them. This was their chance to take everything they didn’t have in their worlds, and Nico didn’t want to squander it. “Big Dipper,” he murmured, staring up at it. A small smile rested on his face, and he let his eyes scan the sky. “Orion,” he added, pointing at the belt. “Canis Major.” Another pause as he scanned the sky. “Leo, Gemini… ah… Canis Minor… and there, just at the edge of the horizon, Heracles.” He turned his head so he could look at Sam instead of the stars, watching the way the moonlight caught on Sam’s curls. “They’re Greek, mostly. I know the legends, the reasons they were all put in the stars. I guess when I was little I just wanted to be a little closer to the real heroes.”
Post by mintedstar/fur on Oct 28, 2020 1:12:48 GMT -5
"But we get to choose what to do now we're here," Sam said, so softly that it was likely that Nico would miss it. Right now, while he felt safe, he could say what the Doctor and Myrnin and the others tried to encourage him of. But now seemed the only time when he could. He didn't want to squander it either. He wanted to take Nico's hand. To reassure him. But he didn't want Nico to feel trapped either. So he gave Nico the warm smile that he deserved, something bright for the darkness. And then his eyes returned to the heavens, leaning forward just a little, hand reaching up as if he could touch Leo or Canis Major himself. A finger traced from star to star, as if finding constellations there which didn't exist to the same eyes as Nico. "Do you like the stories?" he asked, quiet and attentive to the sparkling lights above him. "I know some of them, but not a lot. I'd like to know more about them." Would he learn, since he might end up there? He didn't know. But it couldn't be the same sort of special he had right here and right now.
Nico was aware that Sam had said something, but he wasn’t quite able to catch the words. He figured that… even if they mattered – which they did, since Sam had taken care to say them – the meaning was conveyed well enough through tone. And through the general feeling of the moment. Nico wasn’t used to things feeling… peaceful. He was used to chaos and not getting enough sleep and getting interrupted enough that it was easier to just be prepared for another disaster at all times. The House was like that, sometimes, but not now. Somehow, not now. Nico caught Sam’s gaze, the other boy managing to coax a soft smile out of Nico as well. Not quite as brilliant – Nico wasn’t sure anything could match Sam’s smile in brilliance – but something. He was looking at Sam far more than he was looking at the stars. He wanted to apologize, for what he had said before, for the assumptions he had made, but… that wasn’t a conversation for now. All he could think was that maybe he didn’t need to squash down his feelings now. Maybe… just maybe… there was a chance. His face reddened and he tilted his gaze towards the sky as Sam spoke. “I can tell you some, if you want.” His voice was soft and gentle, and he risked another glance at Sam. “I can’t say I know every single one, but I know a lot.”
Post by mintedstar/fur on Dec 7, 2020 5:31:40 GMT -5
"That would be great!" Sam breathed. Softly, so as not to break whatever spell this room seemed to be under. It was a nice spell. It was one he was comfortable resting in and gently feeling the sway of the boat. It was bobbing along now that they were no longer directing it, following the flow of the water. Sam looked up. And then looked over at Nico again. There was still the light touch of a smile to his face. This was better. He liked this a lot. He looked up again. "I think that's the Big Dipper and I know it's a bear too, but I can never find the nose. Like ... there's a star for the nose, right? I can't remember." He thought this over. "And the others. I'd love to see more of them."
Nico didn’t mind floating. It was nice. Relaxing. And it had been a very, very long time since he’d felt anything relaxing. He gave a soft smile, staring up at the sky and then looking at Sam again, like Sam was just as beautiful as the stars scattered across the sky like an artist had gotten a little overeager with the splatter-painting. There were so many of them, so many stars that couldn’t be seen from New York. So many stars that were drowned out by light pollution, and Nico felt like he could see every last one now. “Yeah,” he murmured, glancing up at the constellation Sam was referring to. “There,” he added, pointing. “You see the end of the dipper’s handle? That’s the nose of the bear.” He looked up just enough to see he was pointing the right way before he looked at Sam. “I can teach you the other ones I know, if they’re the same here. And… only if you want.”
Post by mintedstar/fur on Dec 23, 2020 19:52:54 GMT -5
"I want," Sam confirmed, looking up to follow Nico's hand, watching the lights that were speckling the sky with constellations and maps and patterns that he'd never thought of before. This was beautiful. This was magical. The water was lapping them across the lake, very slowly. Sam wasn't sure where. To what side or anything of the kind. But he felt like wherever it might go would be the end of the night. He was loathed to stop its movement - that would call attention to his feelings - but he regretting that it was what it felt like. "Teach me about the stars, Nico," he said, looking over again and smiling when he met Nico's eyes.
Nico looked over at Sam for a long moment, unable to stop the small smile that spread across his face. He turned to look up at the stars, grateful the House had given them a room with the stars they likely shared. “Over there is the little dipper. It looks a lot like the big one, but see Polaris? The really bright star? I don’t know the stories behind Ursa Major and Minor, but if you follow the handle of the little dipper… see that ‘w’ looking shape? That’s Cassiopeia. She used to be a queen before she bragged about her own beauty, and Poseidon punished her by hanging her in the sky. The ‘w’ is her throne, and she has to hold on to it to keep from falling out of the sky. Right under Cassiopeia… see the triangle shape attached to a square-like thing? That’s Cepheus, her husband. And up a bit, to the right… that’s Andromeda, their daughter.” His eyes raked the sky for a few moments before settling on something right at the tree line. “Canis Major. The really bright star right there… that’s how you know it’s him. He follows his master Orion,” he lifted his hand, pointing up and to the left, “Even in death. See the three bright stars that make up his belt? In the summer you can see Scorpius, chasing him across the sky for all eternity. They’re trying to kill each other, but they never quite manage it.” He gave a small smile before turning back to Sam. “There are more, of course. Their placement… it’s all so intentional.” He was grinning, he could feel it. He didn’t mind enough to try to stop.
Post by mintedstar/fur on Jan 3, 2021 20:14:01 GMT -5
All of this information was taken in with eager ears and wide eyes. Sam raised a hand and traced patterns in the sky with a finger. This proved to work very well, since he was able to follow along with what Nico was telling him. "They're so beautiful," he murmured. Then glanced sideways at Nico. Then quickly looked back up at the stars again. "There are just so many stories. You know a lot of them and I'm just ... it's really impressive." He wanted to say more. But he couldn't think of anything for the time being. The boat was still drifting. Sam was just a little tempted to direct Nico's attention to ... well, his mind was wandering. "Is there a constellation you'd like to know more about?" Sam asked softly. "I'd love to find out more about it with you."
Nico turned his head so he could get a better look at Sam. The smile that spread across his features at the sight of the other boy laying there, staring up at the sky, was unbidden. Still… he didn’t banish it. Just glanced back up to follow Sam’s gaze. “I’ve had a long time to learn the stories,” Nico admitted softly. “I know… I know we don’t want any bad stuff to ruin this, but…” he sighed softly, gaze planted firmly on the stars. “After my sister died… I lived on my own for a bit. I spent most of it underground, but sometimes I would go up to the surface and just… stare at the stars. I learned their stories, because they got lucky. All the heroes up there. The sacrifices they made will be remembered forever. And there are so many people, so many, Sam, that deserve to be up there among the stars. Who made sacrifices so great… I want to know their stories. Every single one. The stars just… seemed like an easier place to start, I guess.” Nico was silent for a few moments, gaze flitting from one constellation to the next. “Ophiuchus,” he murmured after a few moments, “I don’t know anything about Ophiuchus. I think… I think I’d like to.”
Post by mintedstar/fur on Jan 13, 2021 0:34:24 GMT -5
Sam had never heard of Ophiuchus. His expression grew a bit more serious when Sam mentioned his dead sister. The young vampire looked out across the water, expression still for a while. There was such a lot swirling around in his head in that moment that he wondered if Nico was able to see it. If he was, what might he think of Sam? "I'll help you find out more about Ophiuchus," Sam said after a while, conviction in his voice. "And about other people. And the stars." He had a long life. He should be able to help someone he cared about. He could do that. The expression he turned on Nico wasn't a placid, happy one. It was one with conviction and promise. "We'll learn about them together. Then we'll have twice the stories." That seemed like a good start. A good way forward. The boat continued to bob along. Sam could tell that it was drawing close to the bank now. The shadows of the trees were almost touching the edges of it. "Is ... is that alright with you?" he asked Nico, suddenly unsure of himself.
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