1964-09-23 - Worth It
Summary: Chloe and Triton visit on one of Triton's trips home to Attilan.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
chloe triton 

Attilan was hot and humid and the garden was becoming covered leaves. It was a brilliant excuse for one soldier to speak with another. He was not there to train troops today. Hell, he might be just avoiding returning to the palace to find more of his things missing. What was on his mind presently was anything ranging from the Kree returning, to issues between other royals, to the crickets around the pond and the tree in the garden. Still he wasn't the one working but he was, perhaps purposefully, coming on Chloe that was.

Chloe has lured birds to the trees, and their song fills the air. Sure, what they're saying is 'oi fuggoff this is my tree,' but they say it so sweetly. Chloe's voice can be heard too, a soft soprano singing to a stubborn orchid that thinks it wants to shed its flowers. As she sings, the flowers revive, and their color thrives. She smiles and murmurs, "That's better." She then waters the plant and sighs contently. This. This is the ideal life.

Triton watched the tiny birds grousing and walked, trying not to disturb them. Casual footfall carried him further into the garden and stopped just short of Chloe watching her. His brow furrowed curiously and he took a moment to hunt for words settling on, "I'm… glad things are going well. You seem to be recovering from teh assignment well. It looks.." He looked around and chose the word, "serene. You're happy with it the?"

Chloe turns to see Triton, and she smiles. "Triton," she says, and she abandons singing to her plants in favor of going to greet him. "I love it here," she says. "And the assignment wasn't an terrible ordeal. We had a team, and we did what we needed to do. The extraction was easy. I'd say we did well." She gives his shoulder a squeeze then she turns so she can show off her orchids. "They're thriving," she says. "So beautiful."

Triton stood very still for that moment when his shoulder got squeezed. His fingers extended connected by webbing and intent, and, as always, folded back from engaging. He looked at her with a hundred unasked questions and three more besides. Turning his attention to the orchids he examined it closely without disturbing it asking curiously, "Tell me its story? What struggles has it had?"

"We had a dry snap," Chloe explains, watching Triton while he watches the orchid. She pictures him without the mask, his unique and handsome (for an amphibian) face. Its gentleness is what got her. "We had to move it from its spot on the south side of the palace because it was suffering. I coaxed it back to health and convinced it to put down its roots. Orchids are timid things." She kneels beside the flower and traces a fingertip along one dark green rounded leaf. "Too much stress and they shed their flowers. Here, it's nice and humid, and the shade offers some respite from the light."

Triton stood like a stone in the wind. His face had limited expression, but his body language told more story of genuine intent, and a care for not harming the delicate thing she poured her work into. Unlike some peeeeeeople he wasn't one to mess with the core of someone else's art. Dammit. Now he was thinking of the slight against him, and by proxy, Max made himself considered again. Note to self: drown cousin, just a little bit.

There were advantages to being covered in scale, not the least of which was kneeling on the ground wasn't overly a huge discomfort. His eyes seemed to focus on the small features of the plant and he ventured to look but not touch. It seemed to be a going thing with him and the things he admired it seemed.

"phoenix enthroned
crowned in petals in flames
fingers beckon

I remember those writing of them,though it's an imperfect translation. They were used as a symbol of promise and new life in ancient Greece. Thought of as a great gift as they take patience and great care. A labour of the heart and hand." He paused and looked downward for a moment and before looking to her with apology, "I didn't mean to-" he didn't finish the thought.

Chloe tilts her head as she watches Triton, as she takes in every word. She lowered her gaze then, and laid her hand upon his, feather-light. "You don't have to apologize to me," she says quietly. "They are a labor of love, and while you care for them, you think of the one who gave them to you, and they're never far from your mind. When I tend to this one, I think about the southern garden and the heat. I think of the beating sun. Those are what gave it to me." The flowers are delicate things, on the small side, orange and yellow not unlike flames, with intricate and wavy petals. "Don't apologize for being taken in. They're seductive things, orchids."

Triton was perpetually muffled by the mask he wore, because there was always one more thing separating him from the surface. His hand tightened briefly under hers, though the other moved to cover hers for a moment. So many things he could say and, as always, instead embraced neutrality as to not make the situation moreturbulent. "They… really are. But who can blame them? They are maybe shy, but have so much to share, and are not good with… travel to other climates."

"They require care, and it's difficult not to become attached to the things you care for." When Triton covers Chloe's hand, she delicately interlaces her fingers with his. "In the right environment, though, with the proper care, they are strong and robust. A lot of things are like that, actually. When they're given love, they thrive under circumstances that would otherwise wear them down."

Triton took a deep breath and the tank bubbled in the rebreather. His fingers stretched and folded with hers at they could. Interior followed by exterior eyeslids blinked shut and he looked for a way to carry a response to her. "But an orchid can drown, and wither in stone and sun." He considered that for a long moment and asked, distracted, "Did you need anything? For the garden? For you… here?"

"That's why it requires care," Chloe says softly. "A guardian against floodwaters and rock and heat." She smiles softly, and she rests her head on Triton's shoulder, but briefly, still holding his webbed hand. "I think a bench by the fountain would create a space one could come and contemplate the orchids and their origins. For myself…" She shakes her head. "Any day I wake up to a sun overhead and a blue sky is a good one."

Triton let the fight ease out of his spine. It was a pretty picture on paper, but life was often quite more complicated. His head tilted to the side to tap hers. Whaaaaat was he doing? Somewhere he could hear his cousin chastising him already. Still. It didn't much matter as the end result was the same. Triton wouldn't be here and would return to the deep water. The webbed hand gave hers a squeeze of encouragement. "If that is what would would make you happy then we will have one brought. I'll speak with Nick. He can work wonders with stone."

"You're so kind to see to my happiness." Chloe glances down at her hand in Triton's. "The bench would be nice, and I bet Nick would do an amazing job." She's quiet a moment, then admits, "Seeing you makes me happy. Whenever I look up and it's you, it warms my heart. Part of it is knowing you're home and safe. Another part of it is how much I like your company."

Triton chuckled with a tone of humor, "Well, there's little point in bringing someone back to their home unless you can improve their situation I suppose." He paused and his scaled shoulders tightened. This discussion just became difficult. "The catch to that is whenI'm home, I'm not. My family is here, my home is out there, and I'll have to return back. Believe me, I very much enjoy our conversation. Your success and happiness here give me hope for the future, for the direction the rule of our people is taking us, and the direction you will take yourself in this new discovery of self, and maybe finding your family. I just…" Both pair of eyelikds squint shut and his webbed hand held onto hers a moment longer before frankly admitting, "I'll have to leave. I will always have to leave, and you should know that. It is not for lack of good company, Chloe… and it's shockingly not to avoid my cousin."

Chloe is quiet for a time, while birdsong and the babbling of the fountain fill the air with a sense of peace and tranquility. She doesn't let go of his hand, not for anything, though her gaze draws inward and contemplative, each one of his words given weight and consideration. She chooses her words with care when she finally speaks. "I know that the world will always call you back. It's who you are, and it's what your kingdom needs you to be." She smiles faintly, wistful in her way. "But I can wait a long time, Triton. Maybe there are even times I could go with you, but even so, it is enough to have gardens and fountains and the promise of your eventual return."

Triton took a deep breath and turned pulling Chloe into an embrace. He sighed. Dammit. He could go about mangling the enemies of their people, or traveling far away, but for now those arms were just there as a thank you, and as an assurance to her hugging her tightly. "Waiting is something I can never ask nor expect of anyone, Chloe. It's just not…fair to do. I take great joy in knowing you're happy. In all of the things that fall sideways into more chaos and difficulty that we put order to? I know all efforts to find you, to give you this back? At least this? THis is good. I know I have still succeeded in one thing to someone else's benefirt… I'm glad it is you."

Chloe throws her arms around Triton and holds him close. "You speak of waiting like it's a bad thing," she murmurs. "Triton, you poor sweet man, you have no idea what a blessing it is to have something to wait for. To know that, at least someday, you have to come back here, and then I'll see you. There are worse ways to spend my days than nurturing beauty at the palace with the promise of seeing you again." She draws back enough to study his face through the mask. "If I wait, it's my choice, not something you asked me to do."

Triton was stuck between a rock and a drown place on this one. He could tand there in theory forever and be perfectly happy. The reality was he'd be leaving for Vietnam again shortly, and really, knowing somewhere was idylic green and peaceful? Someone who appreciated the pains of his efforts to make the world less shitty enjoying finding happiness instead of fighting for survival? Worth it. Entirely worth it. She was also an adult of her own mind and he couldn't tell her what to think or how to feel or what to do. Those were her choices. He could only be honest with her in the end. "I can't make your choices for you, Chloe. I can only see they are not wasted."

Chloe cups Triton's cheek, or at least the cheek part of his mask. "I know," she says. "The only way to see for sure is time, but think of it like this: you're not leaving me bereft of a life nor purpose here. I have my gardens, and the animals are my companions. There are staff within and around the palace that I've gotten to know. My days are far from empty. They're fuller when you're here. That's worth waiting for."

Triton tilted his forehead to rest against against Chloe's. There was a thoughtful sigh that bubbled in the rebreather. This was not exactly a scenario he was used to, and it felt like stealing potential. He felt… a lot of things. Mostly right now he was confused and oddly relieved. Tomorrow would happen when tomorrow came. Today was here standing still in the garden. He miht be gone in the morning but he hasn't left yet which meant he could enjoy all of this enough to look forward to on the few times he came to shore. "It is a beautiful garden to come back to. You've made a gift for all of us here; hope that something wonderful is somewhere preserved, time and distance negated. It is… wonderous. If you are happy with it all? I've waited longer for less. This is worth it."

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