A LotRO role-player character blog. Yes, I know. Shut up.
Scratch Boy: Right Instead of Left
January 25, 2013Posted by on
He got up yawning, and he shivered when he slipped out from beneath the blankets. Astaldir’s fur touched his bare leg and woke him up a little more, but he still felt sleepy. He drowsily reached down to pet the dog. He rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands as he stepped over to stir the fire to warm the room again. For a moment he huddled next to it, his bright blue eyes mostly closed.
The boy might have fallen asleep again if the mutt’s cold nose hadn’t reminded him that there were gardens waiting to be pissed in. So with another wide yawn, he picked up his trousers and slipped them on before padding out to the other room. Just as he reached for the door, all the fuzzy new-waking feeling suddenly drained away, and his lopsided smile lit his face. “Asti-boy, did you see?”
It was only a whisper, but the dog looked up at him with an intelligent and inquisitive tilt of his head as if some great discussion were about to commence, and he wanted to be sure he was clear on the subject matter.
Ash laughed at Astaldir’s expression and went down on his knees to rub his face in the dog’s fur. It also helped to muffle the sound so that he wouldn’t wake Luin. “Oi Asti,” he whispered. “I didn’t go to the wrong side to stir the fire. Aye, did you see? And when I came out here, I didn’t run into the wall. I went the right way.” The mutt seemed glad, but of course it might’ve been the boy’s hugs and petting that got his approval.
He never had a home before. He had never even had a place of his own just for sleeping or for storing his stuff. Not even when he was little. There had been rooms and campfires, beds and bedrolls, alone and in company. Some places had been decent and warm. Some had even been comfortable. But it was rarely for very long, and always, always those places had belonged to somebody else or no one at all.
The first day, around a week ago, he had asked, “How long does it take?”
“Dunno,” Luin had said. “Guess it’s different for everyone. Could be a couple days or a month. That’s what it always feels like to me.”
“What, a month?”
“Yeah, sometimes. It probably won’t take too long with you here, though. And the mutt, too.”
Ash had smiled at that. “Aye, maybe it won’t for me, either.”
♦ ♦ ♦
Later that night Ash said, “You know what I did this morning, flower man?” He looked suddenly shy after he asked, and he reached without looking to pet Astaldir.
“No, what’s that?”
Ash looked down, then up again, and he smiled. “I didn’t go the wrong way this time. Before I woke up good, I mean. I went right instead of left like I used to at Van’s, aye? So that’s… um. Does that make it home now?”
Luin laughed, a sound as warm as the scarf he’d given Ash at Yule. “Yeah,” he said. “It just might.”
“Okay,” Ash said quietly. He chewed his lip, smiling. “Good.” It wasn’t just his. But it wasn’t just someone else’s either. It was shared; it was theirs, and he was pretty sure it felt like home.
Includes a couple of adapted RP snippets. Many thanks and hugs to Glyngaris!