21.264.Sink into the Shadows

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 264
“Sink into the Shadows”

“It’s finally cooling down,” La-Iin said.
“You think it’s just finally doing that? It feels like it has been for a little while.”
“Maybe it’s because I wear dresses with more layers than you do.”
“It’s been years since these dresses were made. They’re flimsy. Why don’t you put me in some of my better clothes?”
“They take longer to wash, and Mama says it takes her a while washing all the clothes with all the complicated dresses I have.”
“You’re a clothes-hog. I bet you have the most clothes. You don’t even need all those! Someday you’ll get taller, La-Iin, maybe someday soon, and you won’t be able to fit those dresses anymore.”
“I can have Mama adjust them.”
“So you say!”
La-Iin looked up at the sun and screeched.
“Why’d you do that!?”
La-Iin didn’t respond and continued to screech.
“Are you alright, La-Iin!?”
La-Iin tried to open her eyes, but they still stung. She shut them tight. She felt herself being lifted from the ground.
“Are you alright?”
“Asul-Zenza? It’s been a while since you’ve been here. Oh, uh…you probably want to know what’s wrong with her…she just stared up at the sun for no reason.”
“Open your eyes,” Asul-Zenza coaxed. La-Iin tried to force them open. Through the blur she could see Asul-Zenza.
“Dami?”
“Hello, La-Iin!” He said cheerfully. “They don’t sting too bad, do they?”
“They hurt…”
“Don’t look at the sun,” Asul-Zenza said. “Nobody should, but I really don’t think it’s a smart idea for a half-Vampire to do so.”
“Dami, why’d you come by?”
“I told you I’ve been spoiled by getting to see you so much,” he said. “I didn’t get to see you at all in August. I got lonely for you. So I decided to come by. Hopefully–”
The door opened. Asul-Zenza looked up. “Shit,” he muttered under his breath.
“Asul-Zenza, not again,” Mit-Sun groaned.
“I’m sorry, Mit-Sun. I know I should have called.” He put La-Iin down. La-Iin covered her eyes with her hands and started to hiss. “I wanted to see her and I was in the area. It’s a hard combination to resist.”
“…you keep taking advantage this year,” Mit-Sun said. “All the other years you just stayed out the way, but this year, oh yay, I get one month without you.”
“But I’m not here to see you. I’m only here to see La-Iin. How long will it take for you to realize that she is my daughter as well and I want to see her? Even having been by almost every month this year I haven’t seen her all that much in the grand scheme. …besides, I was hoping you were starting to think of me more amicably again.”
“That’s not going to be happening,” Mit-Sun said. “I get it. La-Iin’s your daughter and you want to see her. But I’m the one who’s raising her, and you said it yourself, you didn’t call. I got no warning that you were coming over. So how do you expect me to feel?”
“…I apologize, Mit-Sun,” he said. “Please let me see her, though. Just for a little bit. …I’m lonely for her.”
“And how do I know a little bit won’t lead into a lot more? I’m raising La-Iin. I get final call on when she gets to see you.”
“You shouldn’t!” Asul-Zenza yelled.
“It sounds like they’re about to go at it,” Bes-Isa said.
“They fight a lot. I’m used to it.”
“….he hardly comes by, though…well, La-Iin, maybe you aren’t as much of a Normal’s child as I thought.”
Hearing those words La-Iin opted not to voice her slight concern.
“She may be a child but she knows how to call me. She should have final call on whether to see me or not!”
“If it was up to La-Iin, she’d live with you and probably never see me again,” Mit-Sun snapped. “So it’s alright for her to be ungrateful after all I’ve done for her?”
“I don’t see how wanting to stay with me is ungrateful,” Asul-Zenza said. “She loves both of us, you know. It makes sense she’d want to see me as well. She always gets to see you. If you won’t think about me, think about her. And maybe I am getting spoiled about seeing her, but I’m no deadbeat father. If La-Iin stayed with me she would be fed and clothed and taken care of. But I never even asked for that.”
“You’re not making any sense. Maybe try thinking your thoughts through before speaking them?”
“There’s so much to say to you each time I see you that it’s hard to organize them all properly,” he sighed. “Mit-Sun, if somebody took La-Iin away from you and didn’t let you see her, you’d be devastated, right?”
“What do you think?”
“I’d like to think you would be if you don’t want me to see her! Your personal grudges should have no bearing on whether I get to see her or not! I thought you were finally becoming more lenient with letting me see her, but you’re just the same as you always were! I don’t know why I expected you to change!”
“I have become more lenient, but I’m sick of you feeling entitled to drop by unexpectedly. You should have called. And this isn’t your house. Your daughter may live here, but you don’t. Other people might be more furious than I am about you essentially breaking in.”
“I never intended on entering your house.”
“That doesn’t matter. If I hadn’t come outside because I heard La-Iin screaming, would you have just taken her away like you did that one time? Then I wouldn’t have known where she was and I’d be worried, just like last time. I care about La-Iin too, you know. And I don’t hate you. But not hating you doesn’t make me like you. If you want to see La-Iin, try calling. I can’t guarantee you’ll hear a yes for quite a while.”
“…I can’t take this anymore, Mit-Sun.”
“Backing down finally?”
“Almost every time I want to see La-Iin, there’s some sort of trial you force me to be put through,” he sighed. “And you don’t let me see milestones in her life. If it were up to you, I’m sure my last memory of her would have been when she was just a baby. She might not have really known who I was, and the idea of that breaks my heart.”
Mit-Sun rolled her eyes.
“I’m sick of being put through this just because I quite understandably want to see my daughter. But obviously, for as long as she lives with you, there will be no easy way for me to just spend a few hours with her. I’ll get an angry phone call, or you’ll fight me like you are now. There’s nothing I can do to keep you from getting angry at me.”
“Your point?”
“I know it’s what you want, Mit-Sun, so I’ll leave you two alone for good,” he said. “I won’t come back to the Cahongyun house, possibly not even Bledger. I’ll try to keep my distance from La-Iin until she’s older and able to make her own decisions, which apparently she can’t do at all right now. Either I don’t get to see La-Iin or I am berated for doing so. I’m fed up with it all.”
“Dami, no!” La-Iin yelled. Asul-Zenza’s expression softened and he patted her on the head. “It’s alright, La-Iin. Vampires live a long time; we’re guaranteed to see each other again.” He sighed. “Who gets in trouble for trying to see their own child, though? I would never let you be neglected…”
“Don’t listen to Mama. She didn’t even tell you to stay away anyway. You can keep coming by.”
“La-Iin has a point. I get being frustrated by that woman, but you’ll break La-Iin’s heart if you avoid the Cahongyun house altogether.”
“I know, and I’m sorry. But I’ve made up my mind. I’m not going to be chastised for doing nothing wrong. You can still call me, La-Iin. I’ve been staying home more this year so you should be able to reach me.”
“But–”
“Asul-Zenza…”
“I understand. I promised I would leave you alone and I haven’t done it yet. Give me a moment.” He hugged La-Iin close. “We’ll see each other again, certainly.”
“You’re being stupid.”
Asul-Zenza glared at Mit-Sun. “How? I’m doing what you want, aren’t I?”
“While you’re right about me wishing that you wouldn’t come over at all, Bes-Isa has a point of her own. You’ll devastate La-Iin. Besides, I never told you to stay away permanently. My frustration was at the fact that you didn’t even give me a warning first. Obviously you’re more concerned about yourself than La-Iin if your idea is to just run away and not even try to see her.”
Asul-Zenza blinked at Mit-Sun. “Do you mean that?”
“…I don’t know what’s to mean in that sentence.” Mit-Sun sighed. “…I suppose La-Iin should get to see both of her parents. Even if I don’t like you, you’re right, you don’t treat her badly. And some people aren’t nearly as lucky. So…we still have things to talk over, but….alright, you can see her today.”
“Oh, Mit-Sun!” Asul-Zenza exclaimed.
“Mama’s having one of her rare forgiving moments,” La-Iin said.
“I think she’s just one of those types who gets flustered about admitting the truth.”
“Thank you, Mit-Sun!”
“…”
“Yes, we do have to talk more. I feel like your opinion on this subject changes every time we meet….”
“…give me time, Asul-Zenza,” Mit-Sun sighed. “And you’ve got two hours. Starting now.”
“What should we do, La-Iin!?”
“There’s been something I’ve been wanting to show you, Dami! Watch!” Before Asul-Zenza had any time to react, La-Iin bit into her arm.
Right then, in front of Asul-Zenza, she transformed.

—–
“About talking, Mit-Sun…”
“What?”
“I wanted to ask what prompted the sudden change of mind?”
“I was never going to tell you to stay out of our lives, at least not right now,” she said. “Also…I was just thinking.”
“…?”
“It’s none of your business, so don’t ask,” she said. “We’ll talk about it eventually again. ….I’m sorry I’ve been so fickle.”
Asul-Zenza smiled. “What!?”
“I was just surprised to hear you apologize to me,” he said. “But that’s fine. Eventually, I believe we will work out a situation that works for both you, me, and La-Iin.”
“Huh…”
“I’ll be taking my leave now. Be seeing you, Mit-Sun.” He spread his wings and took off.
“…see you, Asul-Zenza.”

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