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Would That

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Renarin meets Kaladin sideways. He stares up, Kaladin stares down. Surprisingly, it is Kaladin with the surprise in his eyes, not Renarin.

Standing on the side of the building, Kaladin regards him. It's close to dawn; they're alone on the street. And if anyone were to see them, they would blame the oddity on the alcohol. And in that, Kaladin's surprise, at Renarin’s firmness and the absence of questions in his eyes, is justified. He stares long and hard at Renarin, and Renarin tries not to fidget, his hands balled into fists he itches to stuff in his pockets at least, but he resists.

"Well?" Renarin asks.

"How did you find me?"

Renarin ducks his head from Kaladin's gaze. How does he explain. The building told him; gave him the impression days ago.

"I've been searching for you," he settles on.

"That doesn't answer my question. How did you know I would be here?" Kaladin's voice isn't what Renarin expected. He didn't expect the firmness, the authority. His courage is all but fleeing in the face of the storm wall in Kaladin's gaze.

“I- I have a power too," Renarin explains. "I used it to find you."

"Yes, you've said you have a power," Kaladin says irritably. Renarin takes an infinitesimally tiny step back. His vision wasn't clear, he wasn't sure what he would find, only that it is Kaladin he will find. He's afraid he's caught him at a bad time. But he’s terrified this might be how he usually is. Still, Renarin clenches his fists tighter and takes a solid step forward.

Kaladin sighs. "Look, kid. I can't help you. I don't know how you found me, but you should go home, and try not to go searching for trouble again." Kaladin stares pointedly at the scar on Renarin's cheek, the blood drying, the cut closing under it.

Kaladin starts to pull away. Renarin jumps forward, almost like he wants to scale the wall after Kaladin. "Wait! Wait! Listen please!"

Kaladin stops, thankfully. Renarin jumps back into feverish explanations. "I can see the future. Not always, I can't control it very well. But it's how I knew to find you here. But there's more. And my mom — dad too — I need to help them. They don't know it yet, but father — father needs. Please, I don't know how to help them as I am, and Jasnah — Jasnah said, she didn't tell me, but I know it's what she thinks. She says something is wrong with me. Not me specifically, but my power — though she doesn't-"

"Whoa, whoa, calm down, kid," Kaladin walks down the wall to be a little closer to Renarin. And Renarin has to take a step back to avoid bumping heads with Kaladin. "And wait, did you say Jasnah? Jasnah Kholin?"

Renarin fervently nods.

"Who are you, kid?"

Renarin shakes his head. "That doesn't matter, please-"

"Of course it matters!" Kaladin interrupts, and it's the loudest his voice has been in the entire conversation, and although it isn't quite a shout yet, it shocks Renarin all the same.

"Renarin Kholin," Renarin mumbles, looking away from Kaladin. But quickly recovers, and looks back up — wait no, he still can't meet Kaladin's intense gaze. He looks at his chin instead. "But I'm not coming here as a Kholin, they don't even know I'm here, I swear I won't tell them! I- I have a secondary healing power too, and I can help! I promise to work hard, and won't stand in-"

"Renarin Kholin," Kaladin says. And his tone is different, more calculating and distrustful — Renarin isn't a “kid” anymore. Renarin looks up to Kaladin's eyes out of curiosity, and knows his case is lost. There's nothing in those eyes but distance and distaste. Renarin looks away again.

Renarin is then surprised when Kaladin continues. "Why do you want to join?"

Renarin takes a deep breath, and tries to compose himself. This is important.

“There's something I saw in the future that needs to be stopped," he tries to say slowly. "I don't know if it's possible to stop the visions — it's never happened before, I wish it had. But I have to try this time! Even if I'll ultimately fail, I have to try! But I don't have the skill or the means to help. I- I want to learn."

Kaladin regards him for a serious moment. "Why not go to your family for help?"

"They won't believe me." And Renarin can't keep the bitterness out of his voice. He has had a lifetime of practice, he knows, but this layer is new.

When it takes longer than a few moments for Kaladin to respond, Renarin starts again. "Please, I promise I won't stand in your way, I don't even have to join on your fights! I can just patrol, watch, and train. A- and heal your wounded. And I promise not to tell anyone — no one even knows I'm here!"

Kaladin sighs. Finally, he jumps and lands next to Renarin. "Do you have pen and paper?"

Renarin immediately pulls on the zipper of his bag with shaking frenetic fingers. He almost doesn't manage to do something so simple in his eagerness to do it, but he manages, with flaming cheeks.

Kaladin slips to an empty page on the notebook Renarin lends him and starts writing. "Come to this address two days from now, an hour from this time."

Renarin takes back the notebook, and almost bows in his fervid gratitude. "Thank you, sir, thank you."

"No sir, just Kaladin." Kaladin waves away almost airily, but with a touch of weariness too. And then he's flying back over the roof of the building and he's gone.

Renarin watches in a daze for an eternity after Kaladin's left, before regaining his bearings, tucking the notebook back into his bag, and turning to go home. He wonders how he'll explain his absence at this hour. Maybe if he's lucky, no one will have noticed. But knowing his luck, Adolin will notice. He hopes Adolin won't ask too prying questions — though Adolin is usually easy to deal with. Still, Renarin will have to come up with a lie that will let him easily come and go at odd hours from now on. Maybe he'll say he's got a girlfriend. Renarin almost laughs aloud at how absurd the thought is.

He pulls out his box from where he tucked it into his pocket and starts fiddling with it to burn off the nervous excited flutter of energy in the pit of his stomach.