I heard Nico approach, and didn’t hide from her. I could not… well, if she was looking for me, she’d go on, and who knows in what trouble she’d end up.
She took a breath and stood still when she noticed me. She must have looked at me for a while, I guess. I didn’t look at her. Eventually she sat down next to me.
“Want to talk about it?”
“Do you really leave me a choice?”
She chuckled at that. “Ah, sorry. I think it might be good for you.”
I didn’t answer, because I didn’t know.
“Do you think she lied?”
“Well, she said she understood you were hurt and scared. Not quite yourself. That she didn’t blame you.”
“Nico, she tried to help me, and I hurt her. I just lashed out.” Losing control like that. Again. It’s shameful to be so untrustworthy. Nico kept quiet for a while. I was glad she stayed, even if I didn’t deserve it.
“How often does that happen to you, hm? Once in a lifetime? Once in two lifetimes?”
I shrugged. It didn’t matter. It shouldn’t happen at all.
After a little exasperated huff she asked, “Do you think jumping off a cliff would help? Or having her cute little boyfriend cut your throat?”
“Wouldn’t change me.” Rather strange, talking from experience in that matter, but I’d died four times already, and all it changed were my surroundings. Nico was obviously looking for something to to say that would make me feel better, which made me want to come up with something to say that would stop her trying. She finished thinking first.
“Look, here’s the thing. You can’t do more than your best, but the best of your abilities is sometimes not enough, and your best judgement is sometimes a mistake. You are not perfect. Nobody is.”
“Some things are just not done.”
“Flies in the face of evidence, no? You did…” She probably trailed off because she noticed those words hurt, for the next thing she did was reach for my arm and lean against me. She still trusted me. We sat in silence for a while. Eventually she said, as much pain in her voice as in my heart, “Daaren, you will have to find a way how to live with yourself, and go on. What is the alternative?”
She must have been speaking from experience. Older than I was, more used to very nearly everything…
“Learning from you will be quite a challenge.”
She grinned. “You did well enough last time. Teacher.”