The rains of La Noscea never fell softly. Pounding and harsh, like the waves of the ocean from which they originated. That itself may not be a problem for those who lived in the stonework city of Limsa Lominsa, or perhaps down south near the docks of Moraby, but The Mist, for as beautiful a beachfront locale as it was, such rains were a rather annoying occurrence. Or so Xion would think anytime they came as she scrambled to grab the buckets she kept in the closet of her home.
“'Oh, it's a steal of a home, Xion, a bit small but cheap! You should grab it while it's open!' Bah!” The young hyuran woman grumbled to herself for what must have been the eighth time in the past twenty minutes as she swapped a nearly full bucket out for an empty one, dumping the water down a drainage grate. “That's the last time I ever listen to him—Twelve dammit!” Xion slipped on her way to drain another bucket, sending water flying across the floor as she fell to a knee. Yet another mess in this decrepit old home to fix, and one she really lacked patience for at the moment. The house was tucked away in the corner of the residential district, and it had been against her better judgment that the dark knight had listened to her friend Wyra'li and bought it, only a couple hundred thousand gil more expensive than the apartment she'd been eyeing. Only a couple of weeks into setting it up had she learned just why it was nearly half the price of even the smallest of homes available there—the sheer state of disrepair it was in was astounding, and it was taking more time than she feasibly had just to make it livable—the leaks from the rains were just one tick on a long list of things to fix.
Xion was still mopping up the water from earlier when she heard a knock on her door. Who on earth would be visiting her in this weather? Her company was adventuring elsewhere last she'd heard, the linkpearls they used having gone quiet except for the occasional bout of idle chatter from time to time. None had mentioned stopping by, and Twelve know she hardly had many local friends in the neighborhood as of yet—and the young Lalafellan girl she'd recently befriended had mentioned having plans with her new husband that day, albeit plans that only required staying home. All these thoughts raced through her mind in the short while it took to adjust the bandana she was using to keep her hair out of her face, drain the mop and walk to the door, changing yet another bucket out to be drained after greeting her mysterious visitor.
“Now's not an especially great time; I'm rather busy trying to—oh!” Xion stopped talking after opening the door to greet two pale white eyes peering out from under a rather damp hood.
“Would you mind if I came in? This storm is worsening and I'd quite like to be free from its temper for a while.” Y'shtola didn't wait for an answer as she moved into Xion's home, looking around and removing her traveling cloak as her comrade closed the door behind her. “Well, I'd heard you'd recently found lodgings—but it appears they're hardly fit to properly call a home, hm?”
Xion shook her head with a tired smile—why her friend was here she couldn't begin to guess, but leave it Y'shtola to cut straight to the point of things. She came up and took the cloak from the magus, setting it to dry over the back of a chair by her fireplace, which she lit just after. “I suppose you could say that. It...needs a lot of work, but for now, this is home.” Xion smiled and came back over, grabbing the bucket she'd set aside earlier and began to walk to drain it. “What brings you to this side of the world? I thought you and Thancred were busy quelling the Amal'jaa again in the Sagolii!”
The Miqo'te woman moved around the room, setting her belongings by the small couch Xion kept by the fireplace before grabbing a bucket that threatened to spill over, swiftly replacing it and following Xion to the drain. “Our business was rather swift to complete—your friends in the Brotherhood of Ash had already been busy keeping Zan'rak in check by the time we arrived. I returned to La Noscea to check on the Kobold sightings we'd heard about to the northwest of Red Rooster Stead. I knew you happened to live here nearby and...” A short pause filled her speech as she hefted the bucket to pour it, standing next to Xion as she did the same. “...I thought I'd chance the weather and see if you were home. The storm doesn't seem as if it'll end anytime soon, and company seemed more inviting than waiting alone there.”
Company. Y'shtola Rhul, protege of Master Matoya, the sorceress extraordinaire who typically preferred to work alone...braved the storm just to seek company while she waited for it to end? Stranger things had happened, for sure, but it didn't fail to surprise Xion either way. “Well, I'm glad for the company myself, though...I can't say much for the ability to entertain. I'm afraid I've been rather busy trying to keep my new home from flooding more than anything else. I can't say I'd be able to provide any stellar companionship or conversation while the storm keeps going.” The young woman smiled meekly as she moved to check on the other buckets around the house. “B-But please, make yourself comfortable and rest awhile! I'll start some tea at the very least—the buckets look okay for the time being. I shouldn't need to check again for an hour or so.”
Y'shtola shook her head as she set the now empty bucket aside, moving back into the main room behind Xion. “Tea sounds lovely. And it looks like you'd appreciate the help with maintaining your home. I did come in rather abruptly, it would be poor manners just to sit and watch as you work. I'm more than happy to lend you aid.” Y'shtola smiled, placing a hand on her friends shoulder. “You need not bear -every- burden alone, you know. I'll start cleaning up, and we can relax afterwards, hm?”
Xion was grateful, and it was nice to be able to sit down when they finally had everything in order. The fruity smell of the tea blend began to permeate the house as it steeped in the hot water, and Xion put together a small array of biscuits and sweets to enjoy with it. She leaned against the back cushion of her couch with a happy sigh, her fingers wrapping neatly around the her mug after Y'hstola poured both of their drinks. The comfortable loungewear she'd changed into made a world of difference, and if Y'shtola's content sigh was anything to go by, her friend must have appreciated being able to change out of her travel wear as well. The two women sat in comfortable silence, the soft 'plip' of the leaking water into the buckets and the crackling fire providing their ambiance as they ate and drank.
“Thank you, by the way.” Y'shtola moved her arm as she spoke, nudging Xion's own arm gently with her shoulder. “My sudden appearance must have been off-putting, yet you didn't even begin to raise objection to my barging in, for which you also have my apologies.”
Xion shook her head with a smile, nudging the sorceress back. “Well, you looked a bit damp out there. And what friend would I be if I simply turned you away just because I didn't expect you?”
A brief pause filled her words, just long enough for Y'shtola to gently lean into Xion's side, a soft sound coming from her direction. Xion could swear it was...purring? Almost? But she wasn't quite sure. She was distracted by how warm Y'shtola was—a different warmth than that of the fire in front of them. Y'shtola was warm in a more gentle way, a low warmth that made Xion's heart skip a beat as it pressed ever so softly further into her side.
“You're far too kind, you know. But...I thank you.” Y'shtola sipped her tea, savoring the warmth and comfort it lent to her. “I have some favours owed to me. If you'd allow it, I could use some to help you fix your home faster. It would likely be nicer to have a more whole household, and we wouldn't have to worry about leaky roofs and emptying buckets the next time.”
Next time. There...there would be a next time? The thought of spending another quiet afternoon with Y'shtola made a strange warmth bloom in Xion's chest, spreading down to the tips of her fingers and toes. “I'd...quite like that. If you're sure you don't mind...”
The Miqo'te chuckled softly in response, yet another sound that made something in Xion stir in a way she didn't recognize. “It would be my pleasure, Xion. It's the least I could do, especially after all you've done for us. Ah...”
Xion followed Y'shtola's gaze to the window by the front door—although there was no sun yet, the rain had lessened considerably within the past half an hour, and it was no longer the pounding force that it had been. “The rain's letting up some. Will you be leaving soon…?” Xion looked back, questioning.
“...Perhaps. There would be no way to track the kobold's movement still, even without the extreme weather. They won't have made any progression on whatever it is they're doing with such a storm anyways, so I don't necessarily have any pressing matter to urge me somewhere...”
Xion offered a small smile. “Well...if you don't need to leave, you're welcome to stay. It's still warmer and dryer in here than it is out there. And we both know that the rain will persist through the day anyways. I can make a spare bed out if it lasts longer than that.”
That earned her a smile in return, and Y'shtola leaned backwards into the couch more at that, still pressed gently to Xion's side. “Well, if you say so, who am I to deny such a kind offer? Food, shelter, and fine company are all very enticing reasons. But I insist on making dinner, since you treated me to this midday snack.”
Xion smiled just a bit wider at that, and relaxed into her seat, allowing herself to press back against Y'shtola ever so slightly.
“You're welcome to stay as long as you'd like.”