A knock on the door.

" Wille? Are you busy?"

It was the Lyeha's voice.

" Fuck, are you serious?" he mumbled, pulling away.

" Are you going to answer her?" Nova asked, clearly irritated.

" Mood's already ruined, so yeah."

Nova made a small noise of frustration and flopped back down on the bed.

" I can't live like this," he said. " You have too many people interrupting all the time."

" You want me to throw some cold water on you?"

" Fuck offff."

William went to answer the door, buttoning his shirt and tucking it in.

" Hey. What's wrong, Lesa?" he asked, hovering in the doorframe so as to conceal where Nova was laying on his bed.

" I just... I feel like I did something bad," she asked, fidgeting. " I don't know what to do. I feel really bad. I want advice from someone..."

" Ahhh, I see," William said. " Did you get into a fight with Neda, maybe? Do you want to talk about it?"

Lesa looked away, biting her lip.

" It's not that we fought," she said hesitantly. " Um. Could I come in? It's awkward to stand in the hallway..."

William looked over his shoulder.

" Hey, are you decent?" he called out.

" Far more than you'll ever be!"

Lesa pressed her lips into a thin line.

" I was... interrupting something, wasn't I...?" she asked.

" It's fine, I'd like it if you came to talk to me when something's bothering you," William assured. " We really weren't doing much of anything. Come on, come tell me what's wrong."

She cast her eyes to the side.

" Alright..."

William welcomed her in; she shuffled forward awkwardly, with her head bowed in shame.

" Ah, Lesa, is it just me, or have you gotten a bit taller?" he observed mildly, trying to lighten the mood a little.

She sat down awkwardly on the edge of the bed.

" Yeah... I guess I am... I didn't notice before... Not that it really matters, does it?"

Nova hit her back with his foot, not bothering to sit up.

" Quit being so down, you look like you've been at a funeral," he said, voice muffled by the pillow.

She curled up a little bit more.

" I'm just... I..."

" You?"

William sat next to her.

" I..." She fiddled with the edge of her shirt, and then looked up, face burning.

" What was your first kiss like?"

This question took William very, very offguard.

He thought about it for a moment, and then tried to come up with a satisfactory answer.

" Well, I actually didn't know that that was supposed to be an important thing for a long time, so I've completely forgotten," he replied with a shrug.

" Oh."

There was a moment of silence. She looked back at where Nova was laying.

" W-what about you, Lyena?"

He huffed.

" It was horrible. I got rejected and spent the rest of the week crying. Next question."

" So it's all bad, huh," she said smally.

William smiled gamely at her, trying to think of a way to salvage the discussion into something mildly uplifting.

" Not always," he said. " Nova said he'd take you to do that thing you wanted to do, the duel thing."

Nova sat up.

" Not that I really want to," he said. " But you're useless if you don't get what you want, so it's fine."

" I am, aren't I..."

" Yes. Most everyone in our family is, though."

" That's still rude, Nova..." William chimed in.

" You're rude," Nova responded.

" When have I ever been rude? You're projecting. Be nicer to Lesa, Nova."

" I'm being nice! Aren't I being nice?"

She fidgeted.

" ... A little nice. I think. Maybe."

Nova scoffed.

" Only a little? You should be more grateful," he groused.

" I- I am, I really am!" she quickly excused herself, harried. " I just! I'm most used to you being very cold and unapproachable so seeing you act nicer is weird to me, too!"

Nova pointed to her.

" You see, William? I have an image. You're ruining my image," he said.

" Weren't you the one who said the real thing is better?" William replied immediately.

" That's completely unrelated to my situation as Lyena."

" Oh? If you say so," William said, cheerful lilt in his voice.