A/N: This is a fic I wrote for insanityplz (insanityplz . tumblr . com -Copy and paste, remove spaces, and follow her; she posts lovely art and cats and is generally awesome) for the Sanderson fandom's Secret Santa. The request was "Vin and Tindwyl interacting, but not talking about the war." This started out as a missing scene placed between chapters 25 and 26, and it morphed into a "If they'd actually had this conversation, everyone could have been marginally happier much earlier..." I hope she likes it, and I hope it suffices. I also hope that Tindwyl isn't too far out of character…
Disclaimer: I do not own Vin, Tindwyl or anyone else mentioned. Sanderson owns part of my soul, though, so there's that.
Words and Actions
The night after their shopping trip, Tindwyl found Vin where she expected, on the roof of Keep Venture. The young Mistborn's legs were dangling over the side, and for a second Tindwyl worried that she would fall before remembering that even if she did, she would have no shortage of anchors to Push or Pull and slow her fall. She brushed the thought away and climbed the rest of the ladder through the trapdoor that served as roof access for those who couldn't get there Allomantically.
"Tindwyl," Vin said without turning. "Please don't be here to give me another lecture about how I can be both the versions of myself."
"No, child," Tindwyl said, "I think I have lectured you enough on that subject. It's up to you, now, what you do about it." Vin nodded and the pair fell silent, Vin watching the patterns swirling in the mists, Tindwyl watching Vin. Sometimes, in these quiet moments, she forgot that this wisp of a girl was the most powerful Allomancer in the city—in the world. In these quiet moments, she was just another child that needed to learn her place in the world, that needed to learn herself. She was just a girl, watching the mists because she, unlike so many others, had never learned to fear them. Tindwyl followed Vin's gaze into the mists and shivered slightly; she was not afraid of them, but she would never be comfortable in them either.
"You said Elend had to be sure of some things, especially me," Vin said, suddenly breaking the silence. She finally turned to look at Tindwyl, a wrinkle of confusion appearing on her forehead. "What did you mean?"
"Your Elend is a very humble man," Tindwyl began. "You are a great Allomancer. A part of him believes that, perhaps, he is not worthy of you."
"That's ridiculous," Vin dismissed the comment vehemently. Tindwyl raised her eyebrows.
"Do you not believe the same thing, child? Did you not tell me that you think you are wrong for him?"
"That's different," Vin said, but the frown line deepened.
"It is?" Tindwyl asked. "He is not an Allomancer, whereas you are a powerful Mistborn who killed the Lord Ruler. He sees your power and wonders if you do not deserve someone with whom you are more evenly matched, someone who can jump off into the mists after you, someone that you do not have to protect. You are not a scholar or a politician, whereas he is a king, a philosopher, a great reader and thinker with the responsibility of using his philosophies to run this city. You see his power and wonder if he does not deserve someone with whom he can carry on lively debates about politics, someone who can help shoulder his responsibility as king, someone who is more than just a bodyguard.
"He is of words, you are of actions. Though neither of you realize it, you are two halves of a whole, two sides of a coin. You complement each other. You are each exactly what the other needs."
Vin opened her mouth as if to speak, but stopped, thinking about what Tindwyl had said. She drew her legs up, circling her arms around them to rest her chin on her knees.
"How can you be so sure?"
"Anyone can see how much you two love each other," Tindwyl said, tucking her hands into her sleeves.
"But what if loving him isn't enough?" Vin asked. "What if he needs more than just love from the person who would be queen?"
"That's not how it works, dear. Love is loyalty and support and trust and responsibility and protection. It is warmth in the long, cold night, and comfort in the harsh, cruel world. He needs all of those things from you in order to continue being a good king—and become a better one. But you are already giving him those things just by loving him."
"How do you know?" Vin asked. Sazed flashed across Tindwyl's mind for a moment, but she shook her head. There were more logical reasons she knew about love.
"Child, I am the Keeper of biographies. There is much to be learned from the past, much to be learned from the kings of old than simply how to rule." Vin fell quiet for a moment, thoughtful, and though her eyes gazed into the mists, Tindwyl could tell that her thoughts were a few floors below them, with Elend.
"He makes me feel safe," Vin whispered, more to herself than Tindwyl. "He makes me feel warm inside, like I have a home, something to come back to at night. I thought about taking off into the mists, I thought about following—" Vin stopped herself, her eyes darting to Tindwyl, who showed no sign of curiosity at the secret Vin had almost revealed. "But I couldn't because Elend would be waiting. Even if I never came back, he would always be waiting for me. And I could never do that to him. I could never leave him. And I have to protect him, because if anything ever happened to him, I know that I would always wait for him." Vin sighed and buried her face in her hands. "Why can't I just say that to him?"
"Because you are of actions," Tindwyl repeated gently. "And you may not say it, but you show him, every night, when you come back. Every night that you do not leave him waiting is another day that you state that you love him."
"But why can't I just say it?" Vin looked up, her eyes pleading. "It would be so much easier, I would know for sure if he understood… Why am I so scared?"
"It's new for you, feeling safe. Wanting to protect someone. You grew up needing only to survive for yourself. Now you have someone else to rely on and someone who relies on you. And you are afraid that if you lose him, it will destroy you."
Vin sighed, burying her face in her hands again. She gave a muffled groan, and Tindwyl waited for the truth of her words to sink in. After a long silence, Vin raised her head again and smiled weakly at the Terriswoman.
"You're right, of course," she said. Tindwyl nodded. "I just don't know what to do about it."
"Go to him, dear," Tindwyl said. "Return to him and remind him that you are not leaving him. That you will not make him wait for you forever. Tell him that while he may have to wait until you sort yourself out, you will never leave him, and you will eventually marry him. Because you love him."
"Tell him?" Vin whispered.
"Yes, child. Use your words. It will be good for you."
"What if I can't?" Vin asked dejectedly.
"Then tell him with your actions. Be there for him. Stand with him. Support him. Always return to him. He's a smart young man. He'll figure it out." Tindwyl stepped down the first few rungs of the ladder before she heard the whisper that was Vin standing and vaulting over the side of Keep Venture. Tindwyl shook her head at the foolishness of the pair of them. If only they would speak to each other, everything could be sorted. They could be happy, even in these dark times. She ignored the nagging thought that the same was true of herself and Sazed, and made her way to bed. Her work for the night was done.