Heinrich (with Hilda)
I just really want to read my book and not deal with things
Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:40

Heinrich just wanted to read his book in peace. It was a Saturday, his day off of necessary socializing. He had figured, when Hilda joined him for breakfast, he was getting his family obligations out of the way early, too. Not that he didn’t like spending time with his sister, she was all right as far as little sisters went, but she was suffering from a shortage of the German Language in her daily life and needed him to talk more than was his wont and it was exhausting.

The last two years he had spent feeling lonely and isolated. This year he found himself looking back on that time with regretful longing that he just couldn’t pass one single whole day being quietly occupied in his book without people- specifically Hilda- demanding his attention and participation in her activities.

And today was looking no better as she sat down next to him for lunch, too. He grumped a few responses at her, trying to hint that he would rather be reading his way through this mealtime, but that just made her stop asking for his input as she nattered on about - something. A fountain she found in the Gardens, probably.

Then not only did she not leave, she waved over her friend to join them. He gave his book (a paperback in English, which Hilda had presumably dismissed as Work) a mournful look and resigned himself to not finishing the chapter - or finding out if the hero was seriously maimed during his tumble off the cliff (Heinrich felt certain the guy would at least survive the fall based on the plot summary written on the back of the novel, but it was still a highly suspenseful part that Hilda had interrupted) - until after the first year girls left him alone.

Resigned, yes, but not happy about the new arrival at his table. He grumped a noncommittal sound that could not be construed as a welcome but did not convey ‘go-away’ either. Which he felt was very generous of him, given that Johana Leonie was the reason Heinrich was going to have to reveal his secret to the whole school by Christmastime.

He made a dismissive gesture as she thanked him for the shared use of his notes during class, but his expression showed the first crack in his irritation, with just the barest hint of a pleased smile nudging up the corner of his mouth. “Glad to hear they’re getting used,” he muttered. And he was. He’d been worried classes in English would completely overwhelm Hilda and she’d not even try. But she hadn’t gotten kicked out yet for failure to commit herself, and he suspected having Johana Leonie beside her to help her struggle through the work had been a huge part of that.

Heinrich flinched visibly when she mentioned people dying. Hilda seemed unperturbed, probably taking it as just an everyday feature of life in a medical climic, which was probably also how it had been intended to be taken. Heinrich, however, was hyperaware that his parents had caused people to reach that dying condition and Johana Leonie knew it.

As if realizing his sensitivity to that topic, Johana Leonie quickly moved on, but that was almost worse. That acknowledged there was something to be sensitive about. That reinforced that She Knew. Heinrich’s heart rate increased and his breathing became less steady. He stabbed at his lunch and just wanted this hour to be over already.

Hilda, blissfully ignorant and oblivious to his concerns, just gushed, “I’m so glad you’re here, too!” She hugged her best friend impulsively.

Heinrich could not join in. There were things he was glad for Johana Leonie about. Most of them involved Hilda’s happiness and sanity (and his own sanity also benefited from not needing to shoulder all of Hilda’s need to converse in her native language all by himself). None of those were small things. He was deeply grateful to her, he really was.

But to Heinrich, more than anything else, Johana Leonie most strongly represented impeding doom.

He said nothing, not looking up from his plate at the girls.

“Heinrich’s glad you’re here, too,” Hilda spoke for him, smiling. “He’s just a dork who doesn’t know how to talk about his feelings.”

Heinrich looked up to frown irritably at his sister but he did not contradict her. It was easier than explaining the truth.

Besides, she wasn’t wholly wrong. Just partly wrong. “I am not a dork.”

”The best brother in all of Sonora then,” she corrected herself with a fond grin. “But you still never talk about your feelings.”

He shrugged, and pointed his fork at the chicken Caesar salad he was eating. “Try this, it’s good.” He looked pointedly at Hilda, “I like it.”

She just rolled her eyes and shook her head like he was just proving her point. Which, he had to admit, he was.

It was only the second opinion he had offered about something as inconsequential as food in over two years. It felt weird and awkward.

He couldn’t even imagine sharing his thoughts on anything deeper.

  • Vielen Danke!Johana Leonie Zauberhexen, Thu Feb 28 01:05
    Johana Leonie tried not to look hurt when Heinrich seemed so clearly disinterested in her presence. She wasn't awful already, was she? Perhaps he'd had a bad day . . . or perhaps he was nervous?... more
    • I just really want to read my book and not deal with things — Heinrich (with Hilda), Thu Feb 28 10:40
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