Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dress Up

The rest of the morning had been pleasant. Neya had eaten and left the cabin with a list of things to do that was about two pages long. That left Alex and Carbon with plenty of private time that they put to good use.

They were in the shower when Neya returned, departing the somewhat cramped bath to find her waiting patiently at the table, surrounded by a pile of neatly tied packages. She perked up immediately with a sort of knowing smile. “I trust you have had a productive morning?”

“We have.” Carbon had the same sort of smile as she rifled through the dresser.

Alex wrapped his towel around his waist and watched the two of them while waiting for Carbon to finish. They did seem alike, more so than he would normally expect anyone other than twins to be. He couldn’t put a finger on any one thing, but the way they smiled, moved... the way Neya’s body shifted when she rested her chin in her palm seemed to be just the way Carbon did it.

Or was the way Carbon did it how Neya had done it? Was this a two-way street, each party shifting slightly into the other? It wouldn’t be surprising, even if it was unintentional. That was something he was going to have to ask about when he wasn’t about to start shivering from exposure in his own home.

Curious, that. His home. That was unexpected, but it was where his heart was, as weird as it might be.

“Alex, you have proper clothing now. I picked it up just before I returned.” Neya emphasized proper so hard she shifted her body forward when she said it. She was up and untying one of the packages in a heartbeat, a stack of black-red silk tucked into the crook of her arm as she hurried over to help him.

He waved her off. “Oh, I’m fine. I’ve got plenty of my own clothes.”

Neya stopped short and looked at him like he was quite insane. “These are yours and they are appropriate for you. They should be very comfortable, it was the finest material on hand.”

Alex grimaced, struck by guilt. Their home planet was effectively destroyed, they shouldn’t be expending resources on him like that, no matter what his title was. “No, it’s fine. I have clothing that will serve perfectly well.”

“You know, I was the one who had them make that for you.” Carbon slid her drawer closed and retired to the bench nearby, laying out wide strips of cloth in careful order. She gave him a sidelong glance and a soft smirk. “It is not the finest, just the softest. I thought it best to try that first, as it is unlike your normal clothing. I do not want to find something chafes you after we had any large amounts made for you.”

“That’s good, but I’d still prefer to wear my own.” He started at the top drawer and worked his way down, unsure of where exactly they had put the contents of his bag.

“Ah, it may be best, today as we have been invited to a state dinner.” Neya took a step towards him, holding the stack of fabric up. “And Eleya wishes to discuss what is to be done with the artifact you had discovered before that. It would be most appropriate to be dressed for your station.”

Carbon snorted, the first strip partially wrapped low and tight around her hips. “She would. I had hoped for a quiet evening.”

“Fine. Traditional it is, I guess.” He sighed and slid the drawer closed, lifting the bundle from Neya’s hands and setting it on the dresser. He pulled the first one off the top and shook it out, the ends of the narrow rectangle whipping away and falling slowly to the ground. It must have been at least seven meters long. Neya cringed as he bunched it up while watching Carbon wrap her abdomen.

“That is... for the shoulders.” She took it from his hands and had it folded up neatly before setting it back on the dresser and pulling another piece from the bottom of the stack. She looked up at him with raised eyebrows. “You have not worn these before, yes?”

“That’s correct. Never put them on.”

“I will show you.” Neya reached out for his towel, the folded end still gripped tight in Alex’s hand and gave the dense cloth a futile tug.

“Whoa, hey! Boundaries.” He shuffled back a step, defensive as Carbon snickered behind him.

“It is nothing I have not seen before, as you know.”

“She is right, though not explaining herself clearly.” Carbon aimed that more at Neya than Alex. “The wrap is rather complex and will unspool if not done properly. I had been doing these for several years before I became proficient. I was also a child at the time, you should pick it up much more quickly.”

He wasn’t convinced. “Yeah... Is there like a guide I could use?”

“I...” Carbon looked up from her work and considered that, brow creased in concentration. “No, I do not think there is. Not that I have heard of, at least. It is just something that is taught to children by their parents. Also, she is right... It is nothing that she has not already seen.”

“Oh, fine.” He relented, tossing his towel onto the bed. “Get to it.”

Neya looked him over again, unfurling the first piece of the undergarment. She turned to Carbon as she looped it around his waist, pulling it tight. “Has he always been so modest?”

She laughed and shook her head. “Sometimes. Often not. I’ll show you what he wore on the Kshlavo later...”


  1. The description of the clothing reminds me of something, but I absolutely cannot put my finger on it.

  2. I think I may have mentioned some of it before, and there have been little hints about it here and there.

  3. I like the contrast of Alex now being 'modest' to Carbon's level of modesty back in the beginning. Now that I'm all caught up, things are getting harry for Alex aren't they? Hopefully Eleya and the Government realize they should share the artifact.

  4. Yeah, I rather like the idea that, now in a private setting (albeit, one with an extra person), Alex is rather modest.

    As for Eleya and the Confed sharing... Well, everybody has plans.