#IlynaApartment – October 14, 2019

Li wasn't told about Christmas, and she has questions for Ilyna.

December 20th, evening. Bedtime. Li has just finished brushing her teeth after changing into her pyjamas (once provided by Ilyna). She shuffles tiredly out of the bathroom, stopping at the opening to the kitchen and taking a breath before running across to Ilyna's bedroom, keeping her gaze low so that she doesn't have to look at the window in front of her, far too large and far too filled with darkness.

Ilyna lets out a quiet sigh as Li runs ahead of her, but follows suit. The thought of moving somewhere else in town crosses her mind for a moment, but considering the stress of that perishes that thought promptly. "It's okay," she says, and enters the bedroom after her. "It's just snow and cold weather outside." She's in her typical modest blue silk nightdress.

Li doesn't say anything, but it's clear by the look on her face that she doesn't quite believe that. She still hasn't been able to sleep on her own since the rescue, and it's become necessary to close the blinds on Ilyna's bedroom window for her to get a decent night's rest. She climbs into bed, crawling over to the head of it and slipping beneath the safety of the covers.

Ilyna adjust down the lights to the lowest they'll go, which is enough to look around the room once their eyes have had a few moments to adapt. "We're going to the Respite for lunch tomorrow," she says, as if that has any hopes of taking her mind off of the darkness. "An old friend of mine started work there today, and Va'ynna wanted to see you." She walks around the side, puts her omni-tool on the bedside

table, and starts getting under the covers.

Li is just a head poking out from the covers, face almost hidden under long black hair. "Ok." she says, before returning to silence once more. Her eyebrows furrow slightly, looking like there's something on her mind, but she doesn't speak up.

Ilyna raises an eyebrow. "Oh?" she asks. "Is there no room in your schedule?" She pulls the cover over herself, and lays her head on the pillow, facing Li.

Li blinks, looking a little confused, the joke missing her. "Schedule?" Without a school and regular hours the concept isn't very familiar to her. She just goes where Ilyna goes. Maybe the routine back in the compound could have been called one.

Ilyna gives an apologetic look as she picks up on the confusion. "A schedule is...," she begins, trying to put words to a concept that's not needed description in centuries. "....A plan for what to do in a day, and when to do each thing."

Li 's eyebrows furrow again. "I want to see Vinna. She's nice."

Ilyna gives a small nod. "Mhm," she says. "She wants to visit us more often, it's just that she has too much to do at the Respite." She's thoughtful for a moment before adding, "Her schedule is full from morning to night."

Li nods slightly as she listens. She's certainly familiar with long work hours after some of Ilyna's days at the office. She falls silent for a moment before her mind changes tracks, returning to her earlier thought. "Mom, why didn't you tell me about Chrismas?" she asks, the look on her face questioning rather than accusatory.

Ilyna looks thoughtful as the word bringing to fore the worries she has had ever since Jason told her about it. "Because I didn't know much about it until yesterday," she says. "Christmas is a human holiday, and it's the first time I'll be celebrating it too. I thought it was a day where you had a nice dinner and decorated, like the other one where you dressed up as a dinnosaur." She sighs and reaches out to

place a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry, I should have told you yesterday."

Li looks surprised at the news that Ilyna didn't know. The thought hadn't even entered her mind. "Oh..." she says, eyebrows furrowing. "Are there still going to be boxes? Renala said there's boxes with secrets in them."

Ilyna nods. "Renala told you that?" she asks, though she doesn't await a reply before moving on to answering Li's. "Yes, there will be presents. I'm still trying to find something I think you'd like, because I haven't had time to do that today, but I will. Jason told me how important it was that I got you something great." She offers a reassuring smile. "Jason and Vas-...Linda has bought presents for you,

though, but even I don't know where they're hidden."

Li 's eyes light up at the confirmation of presents, a small smile tugging at the corners of her mouth, a bit of excitement working its way into her all-too troubled mind. "Really?"

Ilyna gives her shoulder a gentle squeeze. "Jason said it is the most important part of Christmas," she says, "so we can be sure he's getting you something great."

Li 's smile lingers for a bit before fading, eyebrows furrowing slightly once more. "Is Vaskes still angry?"

Ilyna shakes her head slightly. It's not a good thing that she can't tell which cause of anger Li's referring to, but nonetheless, the answer is the same. "No," she says. "She's not."

Li nods slightly. She offers no further comment on this news, whatever her thoughts may be, just scooting closer to Ilyna and cuddling up.

Ilyna is considering what else there is to say about it. Then Li scoots closer, which she takes as an implicit offer to let that topic go. She pulls the blanket a little closer and wraps an arm over Li. "Good night," she whispers before closing her eyes.

Li 's response is a sleepy mumble that was probably supposed to be a 'Good night' before her eyes close. The only upside of the recurring nightmares leaving her sleep restless most days is that she's tired enough to fall asleep easily. Maybe tonight will be nightmare free. Maybe.

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