Nico watched Kelsier for a very long moment before he sighed and gave a tiny nod. “I’m sure you would,” he managed after a moment. “I can’t say for certain that I wouldn’t choose to do the exact same thing if I had to fight another war. Victory is worth a lot, but… sometimes it might not be worth the sacrifices that have to be made for it.” He frowned, fiddling with his ticket. Fortunately, boarding the bus was a big enough distraction that Nico thought the conversation likely to be dropped. It wasn’t exactly what he wanted to talk about when his dad was finally in his world and he could show him all of the things he had mentioned in the past. There was so much to see, and though the bus tour was a preliminary way to see it all, it definitely wasn’t the only way. Or even the best way. It was just… a good place to jump off from. Not, Nico considered, that Kelsier always chose the best jumping off point. “Computers can do a lot of things,” he replied, shrugging. “I don’t get most of it, but they’re pretty impressive. Sometimes I think it’s unfortunate that using one is a superbly bad idea for demigods.” Then again… computers involved a lot of math, and Nico was terrible at math. Maybe he should leave the knowing how computers worked stuff to the people who could actually use them. Turning his attention away from that thought, Nico let a smile drift onto his features. “You’ll have to tell me how they react when they see it.” Would they think a ticket was impressive? It was printed in a language that none of them could read and only one of them could speak. It was possible the ticket would mean nothing to them. Still… Nico liked the thought of Kelsier having souvenirs. Nico glanced back at Kelsier, reminded almost immediately of the fact that Kelsier needed new clothes. Right. “You know…” he managed, crossing his arms, “This ticket is good for the entire day. You’re sort of expected to get out and look around at stuff and then get back on an hour or so later. If you want… we can stop in Times Square and get you some new clothes.” Granted… Times Square was an annoying place to shop. But it was also the sort of dramatic experience one expected from New York City. If anyone could thrive on that chaos, it was Kelsier.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jan 19, 2021 23:52:07 GMT -5
There was more Kelsier could have said. More he could have tried to tell Nico about it. But, truthfully, it was almost all things Nico already knew, and he didn’t see any reason to continue the conversation when there was so much more to talk about. He was more than ready to see Nico’s world. More than ready to experience this, experience anything and everything Nico thought he might want to experience. He trusted Nico to know where the best place to go was. Besides, whatever Nico thought was important in this world was automatically most important to him. “Right. I’ll have to look at a computer at some point.” He decided, smiling a little at the thought. If computers were that impressive, it seemed important that Kel get to experience them at least once, even if he had no idea what he was doing. How hard could it be? “Sazed will be all over it.” He mused, smiling at the thought. “You know him. He’ll be trying to decode it for years if that’s what it takes. The others...well, I’ll just make them look at it whether they want to or not.” He looked at the ticket again, more than pleased to have a physical representation of this journey. “Oh?” The Mistborn glanced at Nico, surprised by that information. “And it doesn’t leave without you when you do? That’s nice of it.” He still wasn’t at all used to the idea of a carriage without horses, as the bus seemed to be, but he supposed if it was the best way to get around, who was he to complain? Besides, he was kind of looking forward to it, even if he didn’t know what to expect. “What’s wrong with the clothes I have?” He asked, innocently, grinning at Nico, fun bright in his gaze. He switched to Scadrial for the next part, though, because he was at least a tiny bit sensible. “You don’t like my new style? I call it ‘near-death experiences’.” He laughed a little. “New clothes would probably be a good idea.” He admitted a moment later, in English. “I want bright colors like everyone else, anyway. Not that I mind gray and black, of course. But there are no mist to blend in with, here.”
“Make sure you do that somewhere where we can defend ourselves,” Nico replied quietly, switching to Scadrial just in case they were overheard. There was, of course, the danger of speaking a language nobody had heard of, but it seemed preferable to suggesting out loud, on a bus full of tourists, that there might be monsters. The warning was necessary, though, because Nico knew he couldn’t persuade Kelsier not to look at a computer. Kelsier wanted to experience everything Nico’s world had to offer, and Nico would be damned if he didn’t make that possible. “I look forward to hearing what Sazed thinks of it,” Nico replied, laughing just a little bit. “He could probably extrapolate most of our alphabet for that. Maybe you’ll learn to spell in English at some point after all.” Sazed seemed smart enough to do that, if given the words the letters corresponded to. “Weird question,” Nico asked, his curiosity getting the better of him, “Do you read left to right or right to left or bottom to top? We start at the top of a page and read left to right, but a lot of other languages don’t do that.” His eyes were bright with curiosity, eagerly awaiting Kelsier’s answer. Secretly, he thought he would get on quite well with Sazed, even if Nico’s endless questions and Sazed’s near endless supply of knowledge drove the rest of the crew insane. “Huh?” It took Nico a moment to puzzle out what Kelsier meant. “No, the bus doesn’t wait. A new bus comes every ten minutes, and they go in a loop. I think it’s a… three-hour route, so… chances are we’d get on a different bus than this one if we got off this one. But the tour is recorded ahead of time, so we won’t miss anything by getting off and getting back on.” His brows raised as he looked at Kelsier, bracing himself against the back of the seat in front of him as the bus began to move. “You’re making quite a fashion statement,” Nico deadpanned, then quickly plugged both sets of headphones in. “Put these in your ears. And if it’s not in English, press the button…” he reached over Kelsier to point at it, oblivious to the fact that he would have shied away from even this much contact between them just months ago… “right there.”
The warning was received with a small nod, Kelsier understanding immediately what Nico meant. The monsters would be attracted by his curiosity, naturally. Not that that was going to stop him. He was confident they could handle a few monsters, and he wanted to try everything at least once. “He’ll be very excited, I guarantee it.” Kelsier had no doubt that Sazed could figure that alphabet out from just the ticket. He suspected, in fact, that he wouldn’t even need to know the words to do it. Was that even possible? Oh well. Kelsier fully believed Sazed could figure it out, given enough time. He was just like that. He glanced at Nico, tilting his head a little at the question. “Right to left.” He answered, his expression curious. “That didn’t even occur to me. I’ve never heard of a language that didn’t read from the top of the page and right to left.” He probably shouldn’t have assumed all languages were the same, but he hadn’t exactly had anything else to compare it to. He wasn’t a scholar, he didn’t tend to study as Sazed and others did. He was Mistborn, he belonged on rooftops with the mists themselves. “Ah. That makes more sense.” He nodded a little, understanding. No wonder, because it would have been a pain for the passengers that didn’t want to get off if they had to sit around for hours as a couple of tourists poked around shops and other things. Then the bus moved and Kelsier leaned back a little, caught off guard. It was...strange, but not completely unpleasant. A slow grin crept over his face as he looked out, watching the ground begin to move away. So this was what riding one of these things was like...he was excited, and it showed in his eyes as he watched. “Oh?” He glanced at Nico, then accepted the headphones, putting them in his ears as his son had instructed. He, of course, noticed the closeness - how could he not when he remembered all too well how far from it they had been once? - but he didn’t call attention to it, instead obediently pressing the button until the words were familiar. “Here we go.” He said, smiling at Nico.
“Put him on the phone with me when you give it to him,” Nico laughed quietly, shaking his head. “I’d love to hear how he tries to puzzle it out.” Sazed – and if he were honest, most of Kelsier’s crew – was a mystery to him. He didn’t know them as well as we wanted to. He had talked to each of them several times, and he had heard about them through Kelsier’s stories, but he had never actually met them. He couldn’t picture Sazed’s face as he puzzled through figuring out the letters. He couldn’t imagine the way Spook would watch from a short distance away, curious but not wanting to get in the way. It made him sad, that his world was so far away from Kelsier’s. That he would probably never get a chance to see Kelsier’s world. Nico’s eyes widened, thoughts forgotten as Kelsier confirmed that reading in Scadrial was, in fact, different. “That’s cool,” he managed softly, barely able to contain his excitement. “We have a few languages here that are the same way, and they all sort of originated from the same part of the world. English and Italian are both derived from Latin, so they use the same alphabet and the same direction for reading. Latin stole a lot of things from Greek, so same there. I’ve always wanted to learn a language you read right to left, but I’ve never really had a reason to.” He was half a second from going down the stairs of the bus to demand a pen from the driver so he could make Kelsier write out his alphabet on the map when he realized that they didn’t have to worry about blinking out. Kelsier was here for as long as he wanted to be. There would be plenty of time for linguistics later. Nico watched Kelsier’s expression, the way he took in the movement. “This is gonna be pretty slow,” he warned, forgetting that it was still probably faster than most carriages, “traffic is bad this time of day. Well… in this part of New York, traffic is always bad.” He cut off just a moment later as a voice began to speak in his ear. He decided to leave it on the Italian, for now. “We should stop in Little Italy,” he whispered, trying not to break Kelsier’s concentration. “It’s the last stop before this one, so we have some time.”
“Will do.” Kelsier agreed, grinning at the idea. “Fair warning, he’ll have a million questions when that happens. He’ll be up for days trying to puzzle it out.” His voice was fond, and he was still smiling. He knew perfectly well that Sazed wasn’t the only one who got excited about languages, and he couldn’t quite wait to see what happened when those two got going. Of course, he wasn’t really in a hurry to go back. He was finally here, there was no way he was going to go back until he was good and ready. Or...maybe not ready, he didn’t think he would ever be ready to leave a world where he could be a real father to Nico, but he understood that it would happen eventually. He could stay, maybe, but would Nico allow it? Would he want it? Well...of course he would want it. That wasn’t the question. He also knew that his world needed him, his world needed him to come back and he couldn’t actually stay away forever no matter how much he wanted to. Not that he wouldn’t miss his crew, of course...and the mists. But to stay with Nico, in his own world? That was almost enough to make him throw it all away and ask to stay here instead, No need to worry about that now, though. He’d only just gotten here, he had no intention of leaving anytime soon. “I’ll have to show you my alphabet, then. Maybe show you a few words, too.” He offered, happy because Nico was happy. He was aware that languages were something that excited the boy, and he was more than happy to oblige now that they weren’t in a place that automatically translated everything. “Slow?” He raised an eyebrow at Nico, a little surprised by the warning, “this is slow? I’d hate to see fast, then. No, actually, I’d love to see fast.” He looked out again, excitement building steadily inside of him. He was really, actually here. This wasn’t just a room. This was Nico’s world and he got to decide when he left it, not a moment before. He glanced at Nico as he spoke, and nodded a little, agreeing. “We should.” He said, despite not knowing what Little Italy was. “What is it?” He asked just a moment later.
“I can’t wait,” Nico replied, his smile bright and genuine. He was nowhere near fully recovered from everything he had been through, but Kelsier was a good influence on him. At the very least, he had started smiling again. He was trying to see joy in the world around him, to live and look at the world that had beaten him down and say Actually, no matter how hard you try to break me, I will always come back stronger. Kelsier had given him the strength to do that. “On second thought,” Nico mused, his smile faltering, “I absolutely can wait, because I’m taking advantage of you being here as much as I possibly can, and you can’t stop me. You’re not going back yet.” His words had an air of triumph – a victory he had won by challenging the House and coming out the other end much stronger. How many times had the House tried to break them? How often had it tried to tear them apart? It hadn’t succeeded. It would never succeed. “Good,” Nico added after a moment, leaning forward so he could look out the side of the bus without being blocked by Kelsier. He had seen the city thousands of times, but it was different, seeing it as a tourist. Seeing it for the first time through Kelsier’s eyes. “I can’t wait to see what your language actually looks like. I get that it was easier to learn because we could translate over text, but I wish I could’ve learned to write in it before now.” Nico made a face after a few moments, shaking his head. “I’ll warn you now, I’m atrocious at spelling. Comically bad. It probably won’t be much different for Scadrial.” Nico tuned back into the voice narrating their journey, a smile flickering on his face as Kelsier expressed interest in travelling in something faster. They’d have to try a taxi before they left. Somewhere other than downtown Manhattan. It wasn’t quite gridlocked, but it was still slower than literally almost anywhere else in the country. “Little Italy is where most of the Italian immigrants set up shop when they came to the United States. There are a lot of Italian-run businesses there, you’d probably like them. Besides… you can hear actual people speaking Italian, and not just me.” Another smile at that. “That right there is what they’re narrating about,” Nico added softly, pointing at the Brooklyn Bridge. Nico made a face at the description the narrator had chosen to use, and he couldn’t help but hope that the wording was different in the English translation. The Italian… well, it wasn’t inaccurate, but it wasn’t the sort of thing Nico personally found particularly important. He’d have to take Kelsier on a second tour of the city with his own explanations. For now… this tour was fine for context. And for letting Kelsier see it from at least a little bit up high.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jan 21, 2021 23:59:39 GMT -5
Kelsier was so proud of Nico for smiling again. For meeting every challenge head on and coming out the other side. It was never easy, it had never been easy and it never would be, but Nico was so much stronger than he knew and Kel saw it in everything he did. How he did more than just survive the things that had been thrown at him, how he still managed to live, and laugh, and get excited about things. As far as Kelsier was concerned, Nico was the strongest person he had ever met, and that included himself. He looked at Nico, his smile deepening at the words. “You couldn’t get rid of me that fast even if you tried.” He told him, expression sincere. “I’m staying for a good long while. And I don’t even have to worry about blinking back mid-sentence or anything.” Not that that was his main issue with the House, but that wasn’t the point. The place had introduced him to Nico, and though he would never forgive it for what it did...he had to admit that he wouldn’t have a son without it. “Oh, yeah, I expect it’ll be a complete pain not to know how to read or write.” He said with a short laugh. “Terrible. Good thing I have you to constantly annoy with questions about everything I see, right?” He grinned, then nodded. “Thank the House for that.” He mused. “Translations are useful until they’re not. And don’t even worry about spelling, it’s so hard in Scadrial that even I struggle with it.” His voice lowered to a secretive whisper at that last bit. Like he couldn’t bear it if any of these random strangers found out he was bad at anything. He listened to the voice again, pleased to find he understood the majority of it, even if he did miss some words and phrases here and there. He got the main idea, at least. “Ah. Makes sense.” He nodded, though he wasn’t sure he understood completely. He got the gist of it, anyway. People who spoke Italian who were not Nico. “Anything specific you’re thinking of?” He added after a moment, remembering all the things Nico had told him about Italy. The things he missed. “It’s nice,” he mused, “that there’s a place like that where it’s safer.” He’d switched to Scadrial again. Better safe than sorry. Kelsier turned, looking at the Brooklyn Bridge, his eyes widening at the sight of it. It was amazing, every single thing here was amazing, but he couldn’t stop staring and he didn’t seem likely to get used to it any time soon. A glance at Nico told him there were some of those things he had mentioned they wouldn’t talk about, some of that history only Nico would tell him. He was ready for it, prepared to learn everything he could about this place, even the ugly bits. He wanted to understand this strange world that Nico called home.
Nico watched Kelsier’s expression, wanting to see every reaction he had to New York. Nico could remember when he had seen it for the first time. Granted, he hadn’t been amazed by the color of the sky or the blooming flowers that poked out of windowsills, or the green grass of Central Park. But he’d been impressed by nearly everything else. “How old is Luthadel anyway?” Nico asked after a moment, tilting his head. “New York is only about… mm… four hundred years old, if I remember right. It’s not as impressive as Italy when it comes to being old. It acts like it’s the most important city in the world, and it kind of is, but… it’s really new.” He broke off, realizing he had started rambling. “It’s nice that you get to stay,” Nico added quietly, leaning just a bit into Kelsier. Just enough to feel comfortable and safe, and not have to use the uncomfortable back of the hard, plastic bus seat. “Even if you have to ask me questions. Especially if you have to ask me questions.” He would be happy to answer any Kelsier had. Showing Kelsier around New York City had been a dream of his… well, perhaps since he’d found out Kelsier’s world didn’t have flowers or butterflies. He wanted nothing more than to let Kelsier see a better world. To show him one himself. “You, bad at something?” Nico shot back in mock horror, rolling his eyes just a little bit to show he was joking. “Guess I’ll just have to have Sazed teach me how to spell things. Or perhaps terrorize him with my horribly misspelled words.” He managed to crack another small smile, staring over the side of the bus as he contemplating what it might be like to actually learn how to write and read Scadrial. So long as his bad spelling wasn’t an issue… There was really no point in him learning how to write in Scadrial. He’d only ever need to do it if he wanted to write to Kelsier, and he could just text him. Still… the linguist in him was straining to learn right that moment. “Hot chocolate,” Nico answered almost immediately. “I’m making you taste real hot chocolate. And real pasta. I don’t know what sort of pasta you have in your world, but it’s not as good as Italian pasta. Do you have seafood in Luthadel? Italian seafood is good too. And the garlic bread.” He was rambling again, too excited to show Kel everything that he couldn’t even let him get through the guided tour without interrupting perhaps a million times. “Oh,” Nico managed after glancing at the map. “Dad you might want to uh… not listen to the guide for the next stop. If you don’t want to hear about terrible things happening in my world.”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jan 22, 2021 20:24:34 GMT -5
“Oh, it’s old.” Kelsier glanced at Nico, considering him for a moment. “I’m not actually sure how old, but it’s been around since before most history books start. Not that that means a whole lot when a lot of history books have been destroyed, but I know it’s older than anyone alive, except perhaps the Lord Ruler. He looked back outside. The bus itself was incredible, the sights even more so, and he couldn’t have hidden the pure wonder in his eyes if he’d tried. Which he wasn’t trying. He didn’t care who saw it. He kept catching right of casual plants and flowers, poking up here and there, and the sky was a constant bright blue above him, reminding him of where he was. It was unbelievable, really, and yet he believed it. He smiled as Nico leaned on him, glancing down at the boy, expression gentle. After a moment, he wrapped an arm lightly around Nico’s shoulders, not pulling him any closer than he was and easy to escape, but he was there. He was there and he finally got to spend as much time with Nico as he wanted. “Okay, then,” he said, glancing outside again, noting the people and the...cars?...cars….and the buildings made of glass and so much more. “My first question is how these...head-phones? How they work. How does the sound come through them?” He snorted a moment later as Nico answered him, and put a hand on his chest. “You heard nothing.” He told Nico in a lofty voice, glancing at him as he spoke, a smile at the edges of his lips. “I’m great at spelling. Even Saze thinks so.” He didn’t care how bad at spelling Nico was. He would teach him as much as he wanted to know, he would teach him to read and write Scadrial as well as he spoke it, if that’s what he wanted. As for English, Kel thought it was probably a good idea for him to start learning, too. Though he was more than tempted to take on every language Nico knew at the same time. If only Dox could see me now, he thought wryly, because he was no scholar. And here he was, at the edge of his seat over a language. Sazed would have been proud. “Hot chocolate for sure.” He agreed, smile deepening as he looked at Nico. “At long last, the House doesn’t get to stop me. But I’m still not completely sure how anything could top the kind I had before.” He raised an eyebrow. “Hey, my pasta is good!” He protested, though the humor in his eyes and his tone was clear. “It happens to be my favorite food, thank you very much.” He paused, still looking at Nico as he continued, then at the map, trying to see where they were going next. He didn’t hesitate. He’d already made his decision. “This is your world, Nico.” He answered, his voice taking in a more serious tone. “And you’re right. I’d never say that the bad things are excusable, but they are a part of history and they’re important too. I won’t turn a blind eye just because I don’t like them. They happened, and they deserve to be acknowledged.”
“Probably older than New York, then,” Nico replied, crossing his arms. New York might have been one of the oldest cities in America, but as every demigod knew, especially the ones from much older places, the United States was little more than a toddler. The age of the country didn’t really matter, though. It still had a lot of history, and Nico wanted to share as much as he could of it with Kelsier. Watching Kelsier’s joy was enough to give Nico joy himself. He didn’t appreciate the sky or the flowers and plants nearly as much as Kelsier could. He had grown up with life this loud and vibrant and unhidden. The sky had never been gray all the time. The flowers bloomed up through the cracks. And now Kelsier was seeing that for the first time, seeing how a city as big as New York failed to crush the flowers, how weeds and ivy still grew on some of the more abandoned buildings, how life persisted. Even here. It was odd to him, considering that the skaa never had flowers to brighten their day. They couldn’t look up and see the sun shining, the blue sky, fluffy white clouds up above… they didn’t crouch in their gardens looking for ladybugs or garden snakes. Nico’s world was lucky. Really, really lucky. Nico tilted his head up at the feeling of Kelsier’s arm around his shoulders, and he relaxed into the touch, grateful that Kelsier still gave him a way out, even now. Sometimes, no matter how much he trusted and cared about Kelsier, he needed that way out. Not today, though. Today he was happy, and safe, and it felt like nothing in any world would be able to touch him. “Right,” Nico replied, brow furrowing as he pulled out one side of the headphones to look at the earbud piece. It connects to that, and there’s a little wire in it that they can transmit sound waves through. And this right here is a little speaker that amplifies the sound from the wire. I don’t know much besides that, these sorts of things weren’t invented when I was growing up.” He shrugged, seemingly oblivious to the fact that if he were overheard, that wasn’t a particularly normal thing to say. It was New York City. If the tourists didn’t learn how to get used to the unusual really quickly, they wouldn’t survive more than a day. The city sometimes managed to out-weird the House, and that was saying something. Nico smiled, snorting a little at Kelsier’s very sudden bravado. “Think what you like, but if you don’t like the real kind, I’m going to drink it for you anyway.” He smiled, eyebrows raised almost conspiratorially. “And if you don’t like Italian pasta I might have to take you to a doctor to get your tastebuds checked.” He was intrigued by the idea of Scadrial’s pasta. He would have to try it sometime, if he ever made it to Kelsier’s world. He didn’t look away from Kelsier as he nodded slowly, then shifted his focus back to the recorded tour. They were approaching the World Trade Center, and the tour began to go into the history. The towers. The death toll. Nico swallowed. It was odd, knowing that so many still mourned an event Nico was old enough to have been alive during, but he just… hadn’t. He shook the thought away, watching Kelsier’s expression instead.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Jan 26, 2021 22:04:05 GMT -5
Kelsier nodded. It probably was older, though he wasn’t sure how much. He would have liked to be able to give exact numbers, but it wasn’t really like it mattered much. It was old. That was all he really knew. He supposed New York being younger meant there was less history, but probably the history there was would be better known than Luthadel history. The Lord Ruler was like that, after all. He still smiled at every bit of green he saw, every plant that was soft and colorful, every sight of the blue sky above them, the feeling of the sun on his face, not ash. Everything was so much brighter. Everything was so much cleaner and the smells alone were amazing, though he couldn’t place all of them. He still reveled in every new thing, everything that he didn’t understand, because he wanted to understand. He wanted to see everything. Yes, this was truly nothing like Kelsier’s world. He had known the House gave rooms that were similar, he had been technically aware of how it was, but this was different, being here now was different than being in a room that offered him just a taste. Maybe it was because he knew he controlled when he went back. Maybe...maybe it was just because he knew this was really Nico’s world. He was grateful. And not just because of the flowers, though they caught his eye and made his smile deepen every time he saw one. He watched as Nico showed him how the thing worked, nodding along as if he understood, which he did...partially. “Sound waves?” He repeated curiously, pulling one side of his own headphones off to look at it. His accent was a little heavier on the word, since it wasn’t one he was used to saying as much, and he stared at it for a long moment before carefully replacing it so he wouldn’t miss anything. If he cared about being overheard, it didn’t show on his features at all. Maybe he just assumed Nico knew what he was doing and if anyone asked, he could smile and they’d believe anything he told them. Deception was a huge part of his life, after all. If he wasn’t a good liar, he’d have been long dead. “Fair enough,” he agreed, smiling at Nico. “I’m just saying, I can’t imagine it being better, that’s all.” He gave a small laugh a moment later. “I just know that the kind I’ve had is amazing.” He said innocently, shrugging a little. “If your Italian pasta doesn’t compare, then you can’t fault me or even say I’m wrong, because you haven’t tried Scadrial pasta and you can’t know whether I’m right. He was still talking as the voice continued, and he trailed off a little, letting silence fall as he listened to the story. So this was what Nico had meant. He couldn’t see the point of it...or, perhaps worse, he could. He hated that. An event that everyone here likely knew about and mourned, a moment he hadn’t known to anticipate the telling of...he glanced at Nico, expression a lot more grim than it had been since he’d arrived. “I’m still glad I decided to listen.” He said quietly as the moment passed. It was in Scadrial now. These were words for Nico’s ears alone. “Sometimes I forget what I’m fighting for...or I don’t, but I’m blinded by the revenge I need. But people die in every world, and people hurt others in every world, and if I can right a single timeless wrong...if I can change one world, of thousands...that’s hope. That’s hope that I’m not the only one. If I can do it, so can someone else. If someone else does it, a child somewhere sees that things aren’t all bad, and they decide not to give up. That one act of not giving up...that’s what I fight for. A child in a world that’s not mine.” He didn’t look away. “I’m sorry that your world isn’t better than this.” He said sincerely. “But I’m glad it has people like you in it, to give it hope.” Maybe it was because he knew his own death was probably coming, sooner rather than later, but he wanted Nico to know that. He smiled a little, a soft, yet fierce expression on his scarred face.
“I don’t know science,” Nico shrugged, though he wished he had an explanation for Kelsier. “From what little I know, sound travels in a wave like formation. I don’t really know what that means practically, but… it just does.” Of anyone Kel could have asked his questions about science to… Nico was probably the worst person. Numbers didn’t fit well in his head, and so much of science was related to numbers. Unfortunately, much of what differed in Nico’s world from Kelsier’s was the science. Maybe some of the Demeter or Hephaestus kids would be able to answer. They probably understood better than Nico did. “Honestly,” he admitted, leaning his head back on Kelsier’s shoulder, “There are so many things I don’t understand that I sort of just have to accept that they exist and that it’s a little bit like magic that they work.” Once upon a time, he would have asked question after question until he understood. That boy was dead, though. At least that was what Nico thought. He glanced down at his hand, noting the scar there with no small amount of distaste. Kelsier had met that boy. Kelsier had tried to save that boy. Was he disappointed what Nico had grown into? That he had stopped asking questions and therefore couldn’t answer any of Kelsier’s own? Nico pushed the thought away. He knew it was unfounded, but he couldn’t help the way it flickered in front of his mind, like a fly that refused to go away. “I guess you’re just going to have to drag me to Scadrial so I can try some of your pasta too. And then we’ll know for sure who’s right. But I promise, there’s no better pasta than Italian. We invented it. Italy’s been making pasta for much longer than New York has even existed.” He sounded a little bit proud of that fact. “Actually… you also need to try pizza. I doubt you have that in Scadrial, and it’s… well, it’s the best of both Italy and New York. It’s greasy and terrible for your health, but it’s good.” Nico grinned, straining his neck to get a better look at Kelsier’s expression. His expression fell a little bit as he listened to the story, then glanced at Kelsier once more. “Oh,” he murmured, a little bit surprised. “People hurt others for no reason, sometimes,” Nico said, the words in Scadrial but still barely more than a whisper. He didn’t tell Kelsier he had already succeeded in his goal. He didn’t tell Kelsier that when they had first met, Nico had seen the world, had seen everything he had to do to fight for it, and had wondered, ever so briefly, if it was really worth it. He’d had friends, but they were few and far between, and the vast majority of them had died. Or disappeared. His surviving the whole ordeal hadn’t been a priority. And then he’d met Kelsier, the man who smiled in spite of going through hell, who said that things could be okay, who fought for a world that most people would have given up on. Who was fierce and intense and everything Nico needed. A reminder that even if you were broken, it was possible to pick yourself back up. “I don’t do much in that regard,” Nico replied, shaking his head. “Most people see me and think I’m just a creepy kid on the streets. And the ones who know who I am… well, I suppose a lot of them are still scared. I don’t bring hope. I’m not… I could never be a symbol. But I’ve done what I can to keep the world as beautiful as it is.” There was no bitterness in his tone, just honesty. He matched Kelsier’s smile with his own, unaware of the reasoning behind Kelsier’s words. If he had known… he would have fought like hell to avoid it. Maybe, just maybe, he would have allowed himself to be selfish. “Dad, look!” Nico exclaimed suddenly, reaching over to point at the Statue of Liberty. “She was a gift to America from another country. She… represents freedom. And fresh starts. She was the first thing countless immigrants saw as they travelled here, and… I think you’d like her.” He looked up at Kelsier, almost forgetting he was still speaking Scadrial as his voice raised. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door,” he translated, not looking away from Kelsier. “That’s what’s carved at the base. Of course… the country hasn’t always kept that promise, but… it’s what she stands for. I hate that her promise has been broken so often.”
That didn’t quite make sense to Kelsier, but he didn’t push it. He supposed it was one thing he might not be able to understand completely, but would just have to accept, as Nico did. Like magic but not quite. “That’s okay,” he said, shrugging a little. “I don’t really get how my world works, either. I mean, I understand Allomancy, but I imagine we have sound waves too, and I didn’t know about them. There’s probably a lot of things like that, things I take for granted in my own world, but I can’t ignore quite as easily here.” He supposed he would never have wondered how sound worked without having experienced it in the form of headphones. It still didn’t make much sense, but he didn’t mind that. It seemed to work, anyway. He wasn’t thinking of the time he had met Nico’s younger self. He was thinking of now, the boy Nico had become, the boy who had survived. Was he disappointed in how Nico had changed? That couldn’t have been further from the truth. He was proud, so proud of how much Nico had accomplished, he was so proud of who he was. He didn’t believe that the boy he had tried to protect and the boy he’d killed seconds after meeting for the first time were different, he refused to believe they weren’t one and the same. He’d seen it. He’d seen older Nico in younger Nico’s eyes, he’d seen younger Nico’s smile on older Nico’s face. And who was he to judge change? He was not who he’d used to be. “Funny, if you invented it, how did we get it? Kelsier couldn’t quite help himself from saying it, his expression playful. “I don’t remember inviting Italy to Luthadel.” He grinned. “I look forward to it,” he promised, in case that wasn’t clear. “That and pizza too, which I’ve never heard of by the way. I’m sure I’ll love it,” His expression was light, cheerful. He was so happy to finally be there, and it was making it hard to feel much else. They had so much to do, they had so many opportunities now and he was looking forward to everything. Kelsier nodded, not surprised. He knew how people were. He was more than aware that they weren’t all gentle and kind, and he knew that that was how every world was. But couldn’t he try? He had a goal, and he couldn’t give up on it. He wouldn’t give up. He refused. He didn’t realize he’d already done what he wanted to do. He didn’t know what Nico was thinking. If he had,..he would have smiled. He wouldn’t have known what to say, for once. But he didn’t know. Nico had survived in spite of what he’d gone through, in spite of people not caring. If his survival hadn’t been a priority, well...it should have been. His survival mattered, and not only to Kelsier, but in general. His existence meant something. Of that, there was no doubt in Kel’s mind. “Maybe you do something even better than bring hope. You bring an actual solution and do it,” the Mistborn murmured, his smile deepening. Nico didn’t even ask for recognition for it, he just...did it. Kelsier, he liked being in the spotlight, liked being feared by his enemies. He liked the attention, as the people in his crew knew all too well. Nico was different. Nico hadn’t asked to be feared, hadn’t asked for the life he’d been given, not like Kel had. Kel...he hadn’t asked for Hathsin. He hadn’t asked for Mare to die for him. But...he’d led a dangerous life, hadn’t he? And he hadn’t died for her first. That, in a way, was on him. Always would be. He looked when Nico pointed, shaken from his thoughts by the excitement in the kid’s voice. He smiled slowly at the description, his expression shifting from serious to pleased. Nico was right. He liked the gift. He let the seriousness of the last stop go and instead focused on her, eyes flicking down to the base as though he expected to be able to read it. He couldn’t, of course, but that didn’t bother him. He’d learn, before he went back, he promised himself that. “I do like her.” He answered, smiling at Nico. “We could use her, back in my world.” They really could. She seemed a protector to him, someone to stand over the people in pain and protect them from their oppressors. He knew she was just a statue, but she was also a symbol of hope in his mind, and wasn’t that all he was trying to be? He’d made plans for his own death, after all. He was going to kill the Lord Ruler...no. He was going to try, that was all. If he failed… As much as he pretended not to consider that, he’d made the deal with the Kandra for a reason. His bones would be consumed and he would continue his goal even if he failed. He hadn’t told Nico. He didn’t want to think about it happening.
Nico nodded, looking over at Kelsier for a long moment with a small smile on his face. “I know what you mean.” He breathed out, looking at the world like he had never seen it before. “When I was little, there weren’t headphones like this. There was radio, which also relies on soundwaves… well… radio waves, and they run at specific frequencies. And if you have a metal transmitter, and a way to dial it to certain frequencies… well, if someone is broadcasting something with a certain frequency – frequency is how often the wave oscillates in a second – and then you can tune the piece of metal to pick up the same frequency, then the device converts those radio waves to soundwaves that we can hear. Tuning it means… well it means you resonate the metal, but you can’t really do that by hand, you turn a dial and the dial sort of does it for you…” He was rambling, but around Kelsier he found he didn’t mind. Kelsier had never once gotten upset with him for rambling. “A really nice man at the Lotus Hotel showed me how it worked,” he explained after a moment, giving a small smile. “I guess the technology is probably similar for the headphones, but things got a lot more advanced while I was stuck. I don’t know how most things work anymore. Most people here probably don’t know that much either, unless they’re an engineer.” He hesitated for a moment, then tilted his head. “Do… the Skaa know how Allomancy works?” That was the closest analogy he could think of. Only the experts really knew how certain things worked. “Maybe we’re not the first Italian and Scadri… what are people from Scadrial even called? Scadrians?” He shook his head, not really sure. “Anyway… maybe we’re not the first. Maybe an Italian who actually knew how to cook taught someone from Scadrial about pasta. And that’s why you have it.” He smirked just a little bit, confident that pasta absolutely couldn’t exist without Italians. Even if he was mostly joking about it. “I think you’ll like it,” he added after a moment, relaxing against Kelsier again. “It’s all a little bit overindulgent. But I think most food in my world would seem overindulgent to you.” Food in Scadrial seemed… well, it didn’t seem like it was a big deal for the Skaa. Getting enough of it was a big deal, but it didn’t seem to matter what was on the table. For most of the people in Nico’s world… well, there were a lot more options. And they had the choice between things that tasted good and things that didn’t. “I… don’t know,” he whispered, shaking his head just a little bit. “I don’t know.” Had he done something better than giving hope? He had just… fought for what he believed in. Fought for a world he wanted to be true. And somehow, he had succeeded. Most people would never know that the world had been in danger. The vast majority of people would never thank him, would never know that he had a part in saving it. But… he had gotten thanks from the people that mattered. That was the most important part for him. He had… well, he had friends now. He had sort of found a place in the world, even if he knew he would never fit into it entirely. His survival mattered, now. He glanced at the statue, then turned his attention towards Kelsier. Between him and the statue, Kelsier was better to look at. He could look out at Lady Liberty whenever he wanted. He couldn’t experience Kelsier seeing her more than once. “Maybe one day you’ll have something like her,” he whispered, his smile soft. “You deserve something like her. And I think… in the world you’re fighting for… she wouldn’t even be hypocritical.” He wasn’t an optimist by nature, but when it came to Kelsier’s world… he had heard Kelsier’s vision. How could he be anything else? He didn’t know that Kelsier would become his world’s version of liberty. He didn’t know that Kelsier would be celebrated like that. If he had… he didn’t know what he would do. Perhaps all he could do was hope that his people would stand by him, not turn him into something unrecognizable.
Most of what Nico said was lost on Kelsier. He didn’t know what a good portion of those words meant. He wasn’t sure what resonating metal meant, or what a radio and radio waves were, and there were more things he didn’t quite grasp. But he didn’t interrupt. Truthfully, he loved it when Nico rambled, and he was always thrilled when he was the cause of it, because Nico deserved to be able to talk as much as he wanted without being interrupted and he didn’t get to be heard often enough. “Makes sense,” he said, nodding a little. It wasn’t a lie. It did make sense...aside from the bits Kel had no way of understanding. “No, they have no idea.” He confirmed, understanding the analogy at once. “I didn’t know until I Snapped, and I was in a group of Allomancers. I only knew the basics until he needed to use it. And most Skaa don’t even know that much. They fear the mists, and me, because they don’t understand either.” He raised an eyebrow, considering that. “I guess Scadrians?” He mused, glancing at Nico. “I’ve never heard us called anything because...we’re kind of the only ones around. What are people from Earth called?” He smiled a little as Nico continued, and he considered the idea. “Right,” he said slowly, tone a bit teasing. “Becuase you’re definitely not reaching there.” He knew he’d like it. He was excited, very excited. And not just about the food, not even mostly about the food. Just...being in Nico’s world. Having successfully made it there, having protected Nico at last...he’d have done anything to do it long ago, but he would take this, he would protect this. He was finally here, and he wasn’t googling to waste a second. “Oh, I’ve crashed enough nobleman’s balls to have a taste of finer food,” he added cheerfully. “I hate to say it, but they make excellent cakes. Ah, well...I’m sure I could do better.” He looked at Nico for a long moment, considering him. Did he really not know how much he’d done? Was it possible that he didn’t know how deeply he’d touched the world he lived in? Kel’s face softened, because of course he didn’t. He didn’t know his own strength, even now. Nico’s survival had already mattered. Kelsier had done his very best to make sure the kid knew that. It hadn’t completely worked...he didn’t think. But he’d tried, and he’d hoped it had at least helped. Even if he’d also made it harder to do what he had to do. Well...that was the price of caring, and it was worth it. Kel knew that now better than ever before. He couldn’t stop looking at the statue. It was hope. He was hope, too. They had a lot in common, him and this statue. Maybe even the hypocritical part. He’d made promises. Said he was unbreakable, indestructible. And at the same time he’d made the Kandra deal and he knew perfectly well he might need it. Yes...he was a hypocrite, but his intention wasn’t. When he said he was indestructible, he meant what he was building. When he said he couldn’t be killed, he meant the hope he was building. And Nico would understand. Right? He shook the thought away foe the last time. This wasn’t the time for dark thoughts. He wanted to enjoy this as much as he could, wanted to see everything and taste everything and feel everything and experience everything.
Nico figured Kelsier would understand at least some of the terminology. The rest of it was technology that didn’t exist in Kelsier’s world. No matter how well he explained it, it was likely Kelsier wasn’t going to be able to understand it at all unless Nico somehow managed to find a radio to show him. It was just that all of the radios that would have been easy to take apart to show Kelsier were updated to be modern and sleek and not at all easy to put back together. There wasn’t much Nico missed from the thirties, but he found he did miss radio. Even if that alone had been a signal to monsters everywhere that there were two demigod children ripe for the picking. Fortunately, Hades had kept a close enough eye on them in those days that he would have stopped anything that tried. “Okay, then it’s like that,” Nico replied, tilting his head back so he could see Kelsier better. “The people who make these things know how they work because they have to make them on a daily basis. The rest of us have almost know idea how they work, just that it benefits us. Except… I don’t know if Allomancy benefits the skaa. Just that yours does.” He was grateful they were speaking in Scadrial – anyone who might be happening to listen in on their conversation would think them absolutely insane. He nodded a bit at the term. Scadrians. That made sense. Thinking of terms for people from Earth, though… “Terrans, maybe? Earthlings? I don’t know. You’d have to ask someone who’s more into science fiction. Will might know, he likes that kind of stuff.” It was odd, to think that he was talking to someone not only from a different planet, but a different universe. “I think… if we were talking in terms of aliens, then we’d just be human. But there are humans in Scadrial, too, so that doesn’t really work.” He pursed his lips, considering it. He had never really thought about a term for Earth. It was just… Earth. “Mm,” he replied noncommittally, settling back into his comfortable position leaning against Kelsier. He couldn’t see him as well as he might have liked, but he could feel his warmth. He could actually have physical contact with him without freaking out, which was a novelty. Touch averse as he was, touch starvation was still a very real thing. “Maybe we’ll have to break into the Camp kitchen and make a cake,” he replied, a small smile settling on his face. He had a feeling that wouldn’t go very well considering neither of them had experience baking, but perhaps that would be the fun of it. He found he hoped Kelsier stayed for more than a few days. There was so much to show him, so much to do with him… he couldn’t leave until they’d done it all. “At least you can have food here without being angry that the noblemen aren’t sharing it with the skaa,” he murmured, face clouding just a little bit. Not everything was fair here, but it was a far cry from what Scadrial was like. The Statue of Liberty was disappearing behind them as they drove along, and Nico looked down at the map to see where they were going next. The seaport. “I forget you don’t have bodies of water like this,” he murmured, glancing out over the Hudson to get one last look at the statue.
Kelsier knew of some things, from the House and what Nico had mentioned to him. So he wasn’t completely clueless. He did wonder what would happen if he took one of these radios apart...would he be able to understand it then? He had no idea. Maybe he’d get to see at some point...for now he was content with listening to Nico’s description of the thing. He understood the analogy. He and Vin had both failed to know much about Allomancy until it had been quite literally thrust on them, though Vin had had a slightly less dramatic introduction to the art of being a Mistborn. Kel had...well, there had been a lot of blood involved and it hadn’t been where it was technically supposed to be. “Not all Allomancy benefits the Skaa, no,” he said, glancing at Nico. “Mine does, but...there are noble Mistings and Mistborn, too. More of them than there are Skaa, or technically half-bloods, like me.” He paused, frowning suddenly, then getting a broad smile as he looked at Nico, “hey...we’re both half-bloods! I never actually thought of that. Huh.” Definitely good that they were speaking Scadrial. He fell silent, considering. Terrains, Earthlings… “Scadrialings?” He considered out loud, tasting the word. It sounded all kinds of wrong. He kind of liked it. Especially because he had an inkling that Nico would hate it. Oh, if he insisted on being called a Scadrialing...a slightly evil smile curved his lips as he glanced at his son. “That’s probably because you haven’t met any aliens,” he continued. “Not that I have. To be clear.” He gave a genuine smile at the feeling of Nico leaning against him, all the more precious for how special and rare it was. He treasured it, this trust between them, all the more for how hard the House had tried to smash it. They’d proven themselves stronger, in the end. Or...more accurate, Nico had proven himself stronger. All Kel had done was cause the problem in the first place. “Ah, excellent.” He said cheerfully, a sideways smile curving his mouth. “You know, I have baked before. Just not recently. But I’d still say I’m a natural.” He didn’t plan to leave anytime soon. He’d finally made it here...how could he just leave? Especially with how bad things were getting in his world. He didn’t know whether time was still passing there...a shadow passed over his face at the thought of his crew struggling alone as he messed around in another world. No…no, time must of frozen for them. That was how blinking worked. He wasn’t abandon his world. His people, his purpose. Nico was every bit a priority as anything else could possibly be. “True,” he agreed, pulling himself back to the present. He was worried, but he didn’t want to let it ruin the moment. Didn’t want to let it ruin his time here. Not when he was finally here. He looked out the window, watching as the statue faded behind them, then looking ahead instead. “Oh? No, I guess not,” he admitted, peering eagerly at the map. More new things. He absolutely thrived off new things.
“Huh,” Nico replied, considering that for a long moment. It hadn’t actually crossed his mind. “Except I’m half-blood in a cool way and you’re half-blood in a weird oppressive blood purity way. But other than that… yeah I guess we’re both half-bloods.” The fact that nobles were seen as so different from the Skaa in Kelsier’s world… it made Nico’s blood boil. At least there was a tangible difference between gods and mortals in Nico’s world. And at least sometimes the gods admitted to being flawed. Nico doubted that any of the nobility in Kelsier’s world even knew what a flaw was, at least when it came to themselves. They probably judged each other harshly, and the Skaa even harsher. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair, and if Nico could step into Scadrial to help Kelsier change it, he would. He was confident that Kelsier could change it, eventually. Confident that at some point, there would be no need to call anyone a half-blood because there were no big distinctions like that. Perhaps it was just because of Kelsier’s hope for his own world. Or maybe it was because Nico didn’t like it when things weren’t fair. Either way… he wanted to help. And either way, there was no way for him to do that. His expression almost immediately shifted. “Scadrialings?” he repeated, incredulous. “That’s got to be one of the worst things I’ve heard in my life, and I’ve heard some pretty bad things.” Nico clicked his tongue, knowing full well that now that Kelsier had discovered the cursed word, he was almost definitely going to make Nico use it. Nico was therefore going to avoid referring to Scadrial at all cost. Which… wasn’t going to be very easy, but if Kelsier was going to make him use stupid words, he was going to do his very best to avoid having to use those stupid words. “I’m an alien!” Nico protested not seconds later, crossing his arms. “You’re from a different planet as me. Therefore, I’m an alien to you. So you have met aliens. Plenty of them, actually.” If he knew anything about how foreign affairs worked, he might have told Kelsier that aliens should get to name the people they found on a planet, because they were going to have to be the ones to use the term. In which case, there was no way Nico was ever calling Kelsier a Scadrialing. It was easy, however, to let the thought drift away. He felt safe and comfortable, neither of which were things he experienced very often. He spent most of his life tense and on edge, but even here, surrounded by strangers, he couldn’t shake the feeling of safety he had whenever he spent time with Kelsier. It had taken some time to rebuild, but it was nearly unbreakable now. “You’ve baked?” Nico asked, surprised. He knew logically that there was bread on Scadrial, but he couldn’t for the life of him picture Kelsier baking, even just simple bread. Although… he had a feeling he would be good at it. “Not that I don’t believe you, I just… hadn’t ever thought about it before. In your world or in the House?”
Kelsier grinned, as he usually did when Nico insulted the nobility. He was right, too. The half-blood title was stupid and only served to benefit the nobility, as everything else was built to do. He was angry, too. Angry at the situation. At the noblemen. Of course he was, he killed them often enough, and he felt no remorse for the lives he took. Nico was the only person Kelsier regretted killing even a little bit. Luckily for them both, it hadn’t stuck either time it had happened. Nico was right about how the nobility functioned. They judged each other. They judged the Skaa worse. Kelsier was going to fix it. He was going to make it right, fix the world, kill the nobility and more importantly the Lord Ruler. He was so sure he could win this. He was so sure he was going to succeed. Just...maybe not quite how he’d first envisioned. He let out a laugh at Nico’s horrified reaction to the word, and he grinned at him, fun sparking in his hazel eyes. “I am Kelsier, Survivor of Hathsin, Scadrialing.” He announced, keeping half an eye on Nico so he could see his reaction. He was very pleased to have discovered this, and he fully intended to use it whenever he possibly could, especially if he could trick Nico into using it too. Which he was certainly going to attempt to do. It wouldn’t be easy, but he would do his best. He raised an eyebrow, and not for the first time he was glad that they were speaking Scadrial, as that comment might have warranted a few puzzled looks thrown their way. “You’re an alien,” he repeated, deadpan. “Not sure that works when we’re both human. Then again, there are humans in Myrnin’s world and he isn’t considered an alien...fine, you’re an alien. And so am I.” He hoped they got to choose which name Scadrialings were called. Because he both could and would use the term unironically when having serious conversation. He, too, felt at home in this strange world already, for the simple reason that Nico was there with him. It had shattered, once. And that had been one of the worst pains he had ever experienced, up there with watching Mare die. He thought, if he hadn’t already Snapped when it had happened, the moment he had realized what he had just done might have done it. Then again, if he hadn’t already Snapped, he would never have been able to do it in the first place. “I made cookies one time,” he said proudly, the way a small child might present a painting. “With Myrnin. In the House. And also made a gingerbread house fly. Good times.” He hadn’t really had time to bake in his own world, though he was a bit curious about it, like he had an inkling he would be good at it. Not that he was going to find out anytime soon.
Nico didn’t know what Kelsier was planning. All he knew was that Kelsier was good at doing the impossible – better than anyone Nico had ever met. Which was… saying a lot. Nico himself was pretty good at the impossible. He was surrounded by people who looked fate in the eye and told it, as firmly as they possibly could, no. Kelsier was better at it than Nico was. He smiled while he did it. He was better than most of the heroes Nico had met, because they did it because they had to. They were drafted into their fate by prophecies and a birthright they hadn’t asked for. Kelsier… Kelsier did it because he could. Because he was the Survivor of Hathsin, and because he hadn’t really been anyone special before. Although… Nico had a feeling Kelsier would protest if he knew Nico was thinking that. He probably thought he had always been someone special. And he probably had, but he had never had a destiny. What Kelsier did wasn’t written out in front of him, not like Nico’s future. Sometimes Nico wished things weren’t predetermined the way they were. He wanted to be able to make all of his own choices. In a way, he could… but he also kept getting wrapped up in prophecies. He was getting really, really sick of those. “I’d ask if you ever stop being dramatic,” Nico teased lightly, not even bothering to look up at Kelsier, “but I know the answer.” There had been a time when he hadn’t much liked that about Kelsier, but that time was long past. And that Nico was a hypocrite, because he knew he had a dramatic streak too. If Nico were honest, he didn’t really care if they were overheard. They were garnering states anyway, with Kelsier in his bloodstained shirt and Nico looking scary as he always did. He was sure their animated conversation seemed odd to anyone watching. He was, however, grateful that nobody had told them to speak English yet. He was enjoying the secret conversation they were having, even if he did have to throw in a few English words now and then because of things that just didn’t exist in Kelsier’s world. “I mean people in my world also use alien to describe people from another country, so I don’t think it really matters if you’re human or not. And I mean… neither of us are really normal humans, are we?” Nico wasn’t even sure he fully counted as human. He was half human, at least. “Somehow, you and Myrnin in a kitchen makes me nervous. I’m surprised you didn’t burn the House down. Actually… considering the amount of times it’s nearly burned down, I’m surprised you’ve only been involved once.” Then again, fire wasn’t really Kelsier’s style of chaos. “Baking something will be fun,” he decided after a moment, giving a tiny smile as he looked at the map to see what was coming next. He figured neither of them were paying very much attention to the tour guide anymore.
Fate. Kelsier didn’t much care for the word. It was too often used in excuses and ways to force people into things they didn’t choose. Well, who was fate to tell Kelsier what he could and could not do? Who was fate to tell Nico who he would or would not be? If he’d had a chance at knowing what Nico was thinking he would have disagreed. Nico was his own person, prophecies be damned. Who were the gods to say what he did? Who were the gods to decide that? No one decides who you are or who you become but you. Kelsier knew Nico’s world was not the same as his own. And he knew that the prophecies existed for a reason. The thing was, if it hurt Nico? If it tries to force him into something he didn’t want? Kelsier didn’t care who said it. He refused to accept that it was meant to be. If some god threw a tantrum over that, then let them. Who was fate to think it had the right to decide? He didn’t know. He didn’t know what Nico thought, but he knew who Nico was, and that was, perhaps, more important. He merely smiled at the comment. They both knew he was dramatic and everything he did reflected it. They both knew that every move he made had a flare to it. It didn’t make him any less genuine. It just made him Kelsier. He didn’t mind the glances they were both gathering. Had anyone edged nervously away from them yet? Crossed the bus, changed seats? He was expecting as much. It didn’t bother him, not really. It was the same in his own world, although...that was for a much more specific and life-threatening reason. Mainly, Kelsier was insane and tended to live up to the title. So the people wish a sense of self-preservation tended to give him a wide berth. “Do they?” He asked curiously, glancing at Nico. “Huh. Then I’m definitely an alien. And...no, I suppose not.” He frowned a little, considering that. “I guess there have to be some physical differences between Allomancers and non-Allomancers. Or maybe everyone has the physical ability to burn metal and only some people can use it...honestly I’ve never thought about it before.” He was, at least, fairly sure he counted as human still. And Nico was half human. He laughed a little as Nico continued. “Who’s to say we didn’t?” He said innocently. “The House seems pretty good at repairing itself.” He shook his head at the memory. It had been...a very long time ago. Before he had called Nico his son. Before...before a lot. Not long after the arena room, actually. He nodded. Baking with Nico sounded very fun to him...there were so many things to look forward to. So many things he didn’t want to miss. A part of him wanted to stay here forever, with Nico, with green plants and flowers and butterflies and hot chocolate. He shook his head firmly. He wasn’t going back anytime soon...no need to think of it now.
“Isn’t it weird that almost every language has a word for alien, but neither of our planets have ever met aliens, that we know of?” Nico frowned a little bit at that thought. He didn’t really understand where the word came from, but… it seemed incredibly human to look up at the sky and wonder if there was anyone else out there, if the planets and stars had life, if there were others somewhere in the vast expanse of space, just out of human knowledge. It was very human to give a word to those people who may or may not exist. Nico shook his head a little, a small smile crossing his face as he considered it. Humans were humans on every planet. In every universe, it seemed. “There have to be physical differences, right?” Nico asked, brows raising. “I mean, if you were exactly the same as everyone else physically, then wouldn’t’ that mean that everyone who Snaps would be Mistborn? So there has to be some difference between you and people who become Mistings. And… no offense, you’d think other people would have Snapped in the Pits. So most people there probably aren’t capable of Snapping…” he trailed off, blushing a little bit as he realized he’d been rambling. He had tried to train himself out of doing that, but… it wasn’t easy. It was easier when there wasn’t anyone around who was willing to listen to him, but not only was Kelsier willing to listen, he also seemed interested in what Nico had to say, and had a tendency to try to answer every question Nico asked. Which was nearly impossible, because Nico had a tendency to ask a lot of them. Especially around Kelsier. “I hope you burned down the kitchen,” he added after a moment, shaking his head just a little. “It would be very like you and him. But I guess I’ll never know whether you did or not. I’d… rather you not light anything at Camp on fire, though. I’d probably need to find a way to pay for that, and my…” he broke off, a slow smile spreading across his face as he realized who he was talking to. He didn’t need to pretend he saw Hades as his dad around Kelsier. Kelsier was the reason. he didn’t have to pretend. “You know what, never mind.” Telling Kelsier that Hades would have to pay for damages would probably make Kelsier more inclined to damage things.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Mar 14, 2021 11:19:39 GMT -5
“When you put it that way, yeah. That is a little weird,” Kelsier frowned, thinking that over. Of course there were words for things that they had never seen...or course humans labeled them just in case there happened to be anyone out there. Not that it was exactly helpful, as the aliens might want to be called something else, but the point was that an attempt had been made. Because that was the way humans worked. They dreamed and then they were careful to include the dream into the realm of possibility...it wasn’t that different from how he made his plans actually. He frowned a little, considering that argument. “Fair point,” he conceded, nodding thoughtfully. He didn’t see the need to mention that it wasn’t the Pits that had done it, not really. The Pits had been a part of it, definitely, but what had actually caused him to Snap? Watching Mare die. Watching her get beaten to death. He shook his head a little…that was a correction he didn’t think he wanted to make at the moment. Nico already knew that, anyway. He focused on the words instead. “Right, at the very least Mistborn are different than Mistings,” he confirmed. “And I know some people who should definitely have Snapped and didn’t, so probably some people can’t. Most people, actually.” He didn’t mind the question. He loved it when Nico rambled to him, actually. It was a habit his younger self had had, too, when Kel had met him in the House. A slow smile spread over his face at the next thing Nico said. “Hm?” He asked innocently, a mischievous look in his hazel eyes as he glanced at Nico. He knew well enough what he’d been about to say, after all, and seeing the smile slip over his face when he realized he didn’t have to…felt incredible. “Might it upset Lord Hades if I were to...accidentally, of course...set something ablaze?” He tilted his head a little, raising an eyebrow. “Ah, well, wouldn’t want that. Whatever would I do if he were angry with me? Oh, wait a moment...yes...I remember him warning me of what would happen if I dared come here, after our unfortunate little talk over the phone. Ah well. I’m sure I’ve been forgiven by now.”
Nico knew that Kelsier hadn’t snapped because of Hathsin. He had snapped because of something worse. But he also knew that Kelsier was stronger than the average person, no matter which world Nico considered. Most people would likely have been broken just by virtue of ending up in the Pits, and that seemed like a good way to accidentally Snap a whole ton of Mistborn and Mistings. Had the Lord Ruler considered that when he had set up the Pits? Nico shook his head at the thought. Perhaps they just thought that the vast majority of Skaa weren’t capable of Snapping, and that those who did could very easily be dealt with. They hadn’t bargained for Kelsier. Then again… Kelsier was impossible to anticipate. “It would be interesting to figure out what makes some people capable of Allomancy and others incapable.” Nico didn’t really want to believe that it was a genetic thing. He didn’t want to give any credence to the idea that the nobility were genetically superior to the Skaa. That was stupid. He decided to let the subject drop. He didn’t’ really want to think about Kelsier’s nobility, or really any of the bad parts of Kelsier’s world. They weren’t in Kelsier’s world, they were on Earth, and they weren’t going to think about the bad parts of Earth, either. Kelsier had come here… well, for a lot of reasons, but he didn’t come just so Nico could be upset about the way Kelsier’s world worked. “Ass,” he mumbled, a blush coloring his cheeks when it became evident that Kelsier knew exactly what Nico had been about to say. He cursed the fact that Kelsier knew him well enough to read it on him. “If you do something to purposefully piss him off, I swear…” he frowned, shutting up as he realized his raised voice was gathering unwanted attention. The fewer people looking at them, the fewer people would notice the blood on Kelsier’s shirt. He crossed his arms, trying ot force himself to lower his voice. “You do remember my fatal flaw, right? Any idea where I might have got that from?” He didn’t know if that made sense. It wasn’t like fatal flaws were genetic… still. If Nico was just a smaller version of Hades, then Hades’ capacity for grudges was larger than even Nico could understand. “Look, just… try not to piss him off. Please.”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Mar 14, 2021 18:10:33 GMT -5
Kelsier had to wonder whether anyone else had Snapped in the Pits. It seemed...almost certain that they had. Yet no one else had ever escaped...was there because no one else had been at the right place to get metals when it had happened? Had they known that they had the ability to escape? Or had they just died as anyone else in the pits did? He thought that was the most likely thing...though it made him angry to think of it. He nodded, though he wasn’t sure it really mattered what made the difference. Was it really noble blood? He didn’t like that, but he also couldn’t completely discount it as a possibility. Still, it didn’t much matter now. Kelsier was nothing the nobility had ever bargained for, and he was going to stay that way. And right now he was in Nico’s world and there were no nobility at all. He smiled a little at the thought...it was incredible, a world with no nobility. A world where there was no clear divide between humans. Someday….someday, Scadrial would be the same. He’d make it the same.” A grin spread over the Mistborn’s face at the comment. The truth was, he was glad he could read Nico well enough to guess what he was going to say even if he didn’t say it. He glanced at Nico, raising an eyebrow at him. “You’re expecting me to...try to make him like me?” He said slowly, as though he could show Nico the absurdity of the request that way. “He did say if he caught me anywhere near the Underworld, I’d regret my words. Something tells me it’s too late to avoid a grudge. How close to the Underworld do you think he meant, anyway?” He shook his head a little. “I won’t get you involved, I promise,” he assured him, giving him a slow smile. “He already hates me. What the worst that could happen? Let him do his worst.”
Nico didn’t know if it was true that there was no nobility in his world. There were certainly people who acted like Kelsier’s nobility, even if they pretended to be ‘self-made.’ They were still rich, and they still held other people’s lives in contempt. At least they didn’t actively kill the people they thought lower than them, but… in some ways, they may as well have. Nico had spent enough time on the street to know that there were plenty of people who would have been able to thrive if the rich weren’t half as greedy as they were. But he didn’t’ mention that to Kelsier. No reason to spoil his opinion of Nico’s world, though surely he would pick up the pieces if he stayed long enough. No world was perfect, but Nico’s was at least a little bit closer than Kelsier’s was. He was going to let Kelsier enjoy that, and he wasn’t going to undermine any of the progress the people who had come before had made. It was genuinely amazing. And it hadn’t come easy. “I don’t think you’d be capable of making Hades like you,” Nico admitted after a long moment, letting out a long sigh. “But would it really be that hard not to make him hate you more? I just… you were already in the Underworld once, dad, when you came and saved me, but… I don’t want you coming all the way here just to get in a fight with Hades and not be able to go home.” There was a small note of fear in Nico’s voice. He knew Kelsier was good. He had fought him enough times to know that he was nearly unbeatable. But Nico had managed it more than once. And Hades was stronger than him. Nico straightened up a little bit, no longer leaning against Kelsier. “He doesn’t have a weakness to bronze. And he’s exactly like me, just… more powerful and with thousands more years to practice. You’ve already vowed to take down one god. Please don’t… please don’t get hurt trying to take down another one.”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Mar 15, 2021 21:16:19 GMT -5
Kelsier didn’t know everything about this world he had found himself in. He didn’t know what to expect from it, didn’t know what sort of people there were who might be like his nobility. He just knew that there were no Skaa, and no nobility, and there was no ash to choke the sky and turn the plants brown instead of green, and butterflies fluttered between brightly colored flowers, and for him? It was everything he wanted his own world to become. Everything Mare had wanted his world to become. He understood humans would never be perfect. He knew there had been hideous things done here, wars that had stained even this beautiful ground with blood, wars Nico had been forced to participate in. But it was getting better. Maybe his world could get better, too. “I don’t know if I’d say I wasn’t capable…” He replied slowly, frowning a little. “You’ve got an excuse for being liked by him, but I’d feel like I was doing something very wrong with my life if he liked me. Actually, that goes for almost all the gods. Am I really being the best version of myself if Zeus doesn’t want to kill me slowly?” He considered that for a long moment, then looked at Nico again. “I’m actually surprised he hasn’t already challenged me for being in the Underworld. Poor security in the afterlife seems a problem to me, but what do I know? I’m only a humble Mistborn.” His expression shifted a little, turning more serious as Nico continued, and especially as he straightened up. “Hades is nothing like you, first of all,” he said firmly, shaking his head a little. “There are thousands of differences, it’s like comparing me and Captain Hook. Second, you said I was allowed to punch him.”
“You’re not capable of being liked by Hades,” Nico repeated, deadpan. “Maybe you were, at some point, but… after that first interaction you had with him…” he shook his head, staring firmly at the ground. Hades and Kelsier had reached an agreement, somehow, but there was still bad blood there. Nico just hoped it never became actual blood, because if there was blood spilt… no matter how skilled Kelsier was, it would be his. If only because gods didn’t actually have blood, but that was an issue with semantics. He did, however, manage to crack a smile as Kelsier went on. No, Kelsier was about as anti-god as they came, and if he really wanted to piss a few off, then the Greek pantheon was probably a good place to start. They deserved it, at least, and although they had been worshipped, there had always been people who hadn’t liked them very much, who had taken sides in arguments that had happened thousands of years before they’d even been born. “I’d rather Zeus not kill you slowly,” Nico replied after some hesitation, “but it is an admirable goal to be the kind of person that he’d like to smite. You’re in good company.” Nico managed to crack a smile, hoping it was clear that he was referring to himself. He nearly had been killed by Zeus plenty of times. His mother had been killed by Zeus. Alright, perhaps there was a bad history there. “I just risked my life to make security in the Underworld better,” he added, letting himself lean against Kelsier once again. They were going past all the boring stops. The parts of the city that Nico really didn’t care that much about. “I think I’m allowed a little bit of breaking and entering, especially when it involves people I care about in danger.” He didn’t know why Hades didn’t attack. Probably because he didn’t know that they were there. If he’d known how close Nico had come to Tartarus… Hades likely would have stopped him himself. “Hades is a lot like me,” Nico added, avoiding Kelsier’s gaze. “But… thanks, I guess.” He stared at the ground, then eventually lifted his gaze back up. “I did say that, didn’t I?” he groaned, resting the rest of his weight against Kelsier. “****.”
“Not capable is a strong term,” Kelsier protested, as he naturally did whenever he was told he couldn’t do something. Even, it seemed, something he didn’t have any desire to do. He also knew that if he went head to head with Hades, he could quite easily die. He may have been an idiot with no sense of self preservation, but even he wasn’t that stupid. It was just...Hades had it coming. Hades deserved someone in his face, someone to tell him the things he hadn’t heard anyone say in a long time, if ever. He saw Nico’s smile, and relaxed a little. He wasn’t going to argue too much, not here, but he couldn’t help being, well…him. And he’d never met a god he didn’t want to punch. He had a feeling that wasn’t going to change anytime soon. Not that all gods deserved to be made target practice, but most? He thought most was fair. “Let Zeus try,” he said cheerfully. “He might find it a bit more challenging than he expects.” He sounded very confident about it, too. Besides, there was still the bet they’d made at the beginning. He might yet see Olympus. He hadn’t looked like an idiot yet, and he didn’t plan to. “You know me,” he continued. “I’m never one to oppose breaking and entering. A good reason is the icing on the cake.” He was paying attention to the scenery out the window, too, but mostly he was paying attention to Nico. Hades was the sort of father that caused Nico to decide not to come to him with things that mattered. It was perhaps Kelsier’s greatest desire to do the exact opposite. “And I’m a lot like Captain Hook,” he returned. “I don’t see it, and repeating it won’t make it so. You’re not him, and you’ll never be him.” He did smile as Nico continued. “You did,” he confirmed happily, “a couple times, actually.”
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Cloudy Sky: Seeing the name gave me flashbacks to certain events that happened about two weeks ago.
Jun 22, 2021 4:51:35 GMT -5
Violetsky: Her name is Tika. She's a Cymric, or long-haired Manx.
Jun 22, 2021 6:27:08 GMT -5
Violetsky: I left the gel pack in the freezer overnight and now it's a solid thick sheet of ice.
Jun 22, 2021 6:32:05 GMT -5
Violetsky: Cymric is the technical term for a Manx cat that has long hair.
Jun 22, 2021 13:48:50 GMT -5
Violetsky: Technically they are Manx's as well; they are not a separate breed but an alternative variety of traditional Manx's, which are short-haired. They're also called longhair Manx's.
Jun 22, 2021 13:50:11 GMT -5
Violetsky: It's okay, I thought she was a traditional Manx for a while
Jun 22, 2021 14:02:13 GMT -5
Violetsky: Well, she is. It's like if brown bears that lived further up North had thicker and longer fur than their southern counterparts. If that was true, then they would be the same species and "breed", they just have different adaptations.
Jun 22, 2021 14:02:52 GMT -5