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“Ah... sorry. My name is Hector Goffe. I’m from a country called Atreya.”
“Where is that?” Ramira asked.
“It’s, uh... to the southwest of here.”
“Why did you come to Sair, then? To help us?”
“And why are you helping us, huh?”
“Oh, um, because my reaper is the brother of Emiliana’s reaper.”
Ramira squinted at him. “So you’re the servant... of the brother... of the reaper of my sister?”
“Y-yes... I think.”
“That’s really hard to remember.”
Emiliana decided to pitch in. “Perhaps it would be easier to think of Lord Hector as a very distant cousin.”
“Ah--” He raised a hand slightly. “Lord--um--you don’t have to--I mean, I’m not really a... er...”
“Oh, I am sorry,” she said. “Was I mistaken? I thought you were an Atreyan Lord.”
“Well... I am, technically.”
Emiliana tilted her masked head at him. “Then what is the problem?”
“Ah, uh, sorry.” He could feel himself losing what little composure he had. He needed to concentrate and find his footing again. “I’m just, er--I’m just not a-accustomed to it, I guess. Because I wasn’t born into it, I mean. So, um, please, um. Please j-just call me Hector. Please.” There were way too many pleases in there, he realized.
Emiliana just stared at him a moment. “Very well...”
Ramira eyed him another time. “Cousin Hector, huh? Mmkay.”
And he was abruptly reminded of having that same thought when he first saw their pictures. Cousins. The memory made him blush, and he had to hide it by rubbing his face, as if out of exhaustion. Thankfully, he actually was exhausted, so that wasn’t too much of a stretch.
He could hardly believe they’d said that. And agreed about it. Cousins. Family. When the thought had been his own, he’d chalked it up to wishful thinking and dismissed it, but now... now, it actually had a sense of legitimacy. Of reality.
But maybe he was overreacting. In fact, he definitely was, he decided. These were Rainlords. They probably had more distant relatives than they could keep track of. One more cousin wouldn’t be a big deal to them, surely, so he shouldn’t let it be a big deal to him, either.
But it was. In spite of himself, it was. And he had no idea what to do about it, because it embarrassed the living shit out of him.