Title: Putting Your Things On the Sidewalk
Author: Tiamat's Child
Rating: PG
Fandom: The Westmark Trilogy
Pairing: Zara/Florian
Disclaimer: Westmark's Lloyd Alexander's, not mine.
Summary: Zara hates reasonable men.

Note: So I asked Louiselux to give me a prompt, since she was offering, and she gave me this:

Little triggers that you pull with your tongue

Little triggers, I don't wanna be hung up, strung up

When you don't call up

Putting Your Things On the Sidewalk

Zara knew that she'd been the one to send Florian away. The memory was vivid and satisfying – the smash of the cheap tea cup he'd dropped when she shoved him, the mild bemusement (it should have been bewilderment, but since when did Florian feel things like a normal person) on his face when she slammed her door in it. That had been the way it had gone, and it had felt good to do it. She'd had to. The man was too charming, too kind, too quiet, too dangerous with all his talk of change. It sounded so reasonable, but she knew better, and she hated reasonable men.

So she'd sent him away, as firmly and loudly as she knew how.

But just now it didn't feel like that was what had happened at all.

She took up another few stitches, pulled them through, and glared at her wall. This was stupid. He hadn't sent her away. It was the other way around. It was stupid to want to go ask if he'd let her come back yet. That wasn't what had happened. She didn't even want to see him again. He was too dangerous, and too infuriating, and he didn't feel things right, you could see it all over him, and she was stupid, stupid, stupid because she did want to see him again.

She wasn't sure, later, how she ended up in the common room of the old inn. Or how she ended up slapping Florian across the face and shouting at him, or why he reacted with that same old infuriating mildness, taking Zara's hands, gently forcing them to uncurl from the fists she'd balled them into.

"Careful, my dear," he'd said (it would be another few months before he'd take to calling her "our russet goddess"), "Your nails will break the skin."

She glared at him and tried to twist away, but he wouldn't let her this time. "What the hell do I care? Let me go."

But she knew it wouldn't help if he did, and she hated him for it.

"I won't love you, stop trying to make me," was what she wanted to say, but she could see him raising an eyebrow, with all that obnoxious gravity of his. She didn't want to see that, didn't want to listen to him ask what she meant. (She hated that voice he used – it made her shiver a little, and she hated that.)

"Let me go," she said again, instead.

He did.

She was right – it didn't help at all.

So she stayed, and hated every moment of it.