(Note on timeline. This conversation occurs after Sioned spends the evening drinking with Julia, Gerard and Caine and before she heads ack to Arden to work on Pattern Bombs.)

Sioned hadn’t been looking for him when she rounded the corner, despite attempting to trump him repeatedly throughout the morning. Trump plus hangover equals not.very.good.

Note to self, do not go drink for drink with the elder Amberites. Her hangover wasn’t crippling, but it was pretty effing rank. Caine and Gerard on the other hand, when she had seen them, seemed none the worse for wear at all. What she really wanted to do right now was go and have a bath and a sleep, concurrently. But there were other things she needed to do.
She turned down a hallway, and there he was in front of her, rapidly striding away in the opposite direction. She called out to him and he turned, chewing, with a plate of half eaten sandwich in his hand and a harried expression on his face.

“Do you have a minute?” She asked as she hurried quickly toward him.

He finished chewing and swallowed. The sandwich seemed to have some non descript meat on it and quite an abundance of pickle.

“Well, not really, no. Flora won’t get off my case, and Madoc wants to, I don’t know, open my head and fish around in my grey bits, and Llewella seems to think I fix her fucking problems with Rebma, and Erica’s sending me notes via Tomas about fixing the damn Pattern, and I have a lot on my plate right now and frankly my wife and son ought to be coming first! So whatever this is better be quick, okay?”

She started at his abruptness, but then took a breath. Well, she wasn’t such a child as to think this would be easy.

“You’re mad at me, I think I know why, it’s why Isolde is mad at me, because she’s really mad at me, she tried to kill me, and that’s like furious at me, and Emil said she told him she thought that I thought she was a toy robot and that I could turn her off, and I don’t think she’s a robot and I just wanted to keep her safe because she had to be stuck in my memory with whatever the horrible thing that happened was, which must have been so horrible because I took is out of my mind and put it away somewhere, I just didn’t want her to wake up with people she didn’t know and now I know that I fucked it up. If you want I can probably talk to Madoc and Llewella and get them off your case for a while, then I have to go back to Arden.”

Brand blinked rapidly for a few seconds.

“Well, that was certainly quick…Yes, get Madoc and Llewella of my back, for the love of my sanity, do. Isolde…I didn’t know she had tried to kill you yet.” He sighed and scrunched up his face in irritation.

“I really don’t have the time for this, so hold on for the fast version. What Theodric did to me…you do remember what he did to me…”

“Most of it, yes.” she replied

“Well, that’s a pretty good parallel to what you did to Isolde. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t mean it, or whatever you were thinking, you made her do something because you wanted her to do that thing, not because she wanted to. You did treat her like a toy that could be turned off. You treated her like Theodric treated me. I imagine she’s too angry with you to care if you are sorry, or if it was a mistake, and I understand that as much as I understand that it wasn’t intended. You stepped over a line. And I don’t know how or if you can fix it.”

You treated her like Theodric treated me

He sighed heavily.

“Sioned, you…I can’t help you.”

You treated her like Theodric treated me

“I know. I understand.” She said in a small voice.

“Do you?” He peered at her. People understanding him was still an interesting concept.

“I treated her like Theodric treated you. Yes, Brand. I understand.”

He felt the tiniest pang of guilt.

“Well…well, good…that’s good.”

You treated her like Theodric treated me

“I’ll talk to Madoc and Llewella. See what I can do.” She turned and quickly retreated the way she had come.

Brand watched her go and rubbed a hand over his forehead and down his nose.

“Oh bloody hells”

He picked up his half eaten sandwich from the plate and took another bite as he continued down the hall. Complicated. Bloody rubbish complicated.

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