Tokens

This little scene from my current NaNo was inspired by a word prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth: book

**

Mikas settled in a corner of the cabin with his knees drawn up to his chest.  Most of the others were relaxing as well.  Jefferson and Samantha were playing chest.  Cedar was playing cards with Andrien and Lark, while Brook watched over his charge.  Ilya was busily crocheting.  He’d finished the head of his little cat and had moved on to the body.  To Mikas, it looked more like a fox than a cat, but he wasn’t going to say that to his cousin.  Ilya was too pleased with his work for Mikas to say anything that might upset him.

Mikas was holding a battered old book in his lap.  It had been a gift from Sergei near the end of their relationship.  It was a piece of historical fiction set hundreds of years ago, when his homeland had been strong and independent.  Although Sergei had always called him by the name the Veligradians had given him, he’d also always acknowledged that Mikas wasn’t truly Veligradian.  He’d been one of the few who did.

He wondered if Sergei realized he’d kept that book – that final gift.  One part of him doubted it.  After all, Mikas had ended the relationship only a few weeks later.  More than likely, Sergei thought it was something he’d done or said – that Mikas had left in anger.  However, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

“Why’d you break it off with him?” Ilya asked, breaking into Mikas’s thoughts.  His brows furrowed.  “That book… it’s one of the few things that you brought with you when you left and… he gave it to you.  Right?”

Mikas nodded.  He flipped open the cover.  It had an inscription written in Veligradian.  It was just two words.  “Love, always,” he read.  Then, he shook his head.  He looked up at Ilya and shrugged.  “It scared me.  I was… twenty-two years old and he was thirty-four and he gave me this book and said that he would always love me and… that terrified me.”

Ilya’s brows furrowed.  “I was married when I was just nineteen, Mikas,” he said.  He shrugged.  “Sometimes, the heart just knows.”

Mikas nodded.  “For years, I wondered if I’d made a mistake in breaking up with him,” he said.  Then, he smiled and looked over at Ilya.  “Then, I met Vin and… the idea of loving this person for always wasn’t scary.”

“Then, I’d say, you didn’t make a mistake,” Ilya said.  He patted Mikas on the hand and then turned his attention back to his crochet.  “What will you do with the book?”

“It’s past time that I gave it back,” Mikas said.  Then, he snapped the cover closed and tucked it back into his bag.  The question was: would there be a good moment to make it clear to Sergei that he’d truly moved on?  Perhaps he’d be lucky and Sergei would laugh to think he still had the battered old book.  Somehow, though, he doubted that he could be so fortunate.

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