Nico ambled away from the main hubbub of the party, and found Daaren on the veranda, apparently watching the gardens. She propped herself up next to him, and asked conversationally, “So, why’d you leave?”
“Too noisy. Too many people.” It was a lot easier than arguing semantics. He was still here. “What about you?”
“I needed to get away from the bowle for a bit. Packs more of a punch than I thought. And I wanted to make sure you didn’t get lost, or something.”
“Still determined to stay till the end?”
Noting the pre-dawn sky, Nico answered. “Doesn’t make much of a difference now, does it?” After a look around, she added, “Let’s go up to the roof and watch the sunrise. I bet there are even less people up there, too.”
Daaren chuckled and followed her.
They took up nearly the same stances as before and watched the sky in comfortable silence. As Daaren saw seeping up from the horizon, he looked at Nico, and noticed tears in her eyes.
“Are you all right?”
“I’m feeling great. This is so beautiful.”
Daaren had another look out. The sky was clear, and if he wasn’t much mistaken, it meant the day would be fine. They would of course miss most of it. Something about staying awake all night seemed fundamentally wrong to him.
However, something of Nico’s mood was contagious. In mild wonder rather than disbelief, he asked, “The dawn affects you that much?”
She laughed, making her tears flow. “Enjoy the moment. It’s what keeps me a manner of sane.”
Daaren smiled at her, and lifted his hand to wipe a tear away with his thumb. “You look just a little crazed right now.”
His face fell as he suddenly had to think of his daughters growing up without him. At Nico’s worried look, he rallied for something to say. “Is that a talent, or something you learned? Enjoying the moment, I mean.”
“Ah.” There was a sad shadow of a smile. “I don’t remember.” She turned to the rising sun, and Daaren did the same after a moment, both aware that the other did not want to talk.