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Diplomatic Overtures

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"This is ridiculous," said Breq.

"I know," said Seivarden, pouring tea.

"We should have sent someone else," said Breq.

"I agree completely." Seivarden shook out Breq's uniform and laid it on the bed.

"If the Geck ambassador asks me to have poick again I will throw it at her," said Breq.

"She's trying to be nice to you." Seivarden took Breq's hand and bodily pulled her out of bed. "I can't imagine why."

"And there are too many genders," said Breq. "I keep being rude to people when I don't mean to be."

"Horrible." Seivarden began helping Breq into her clothes. "I know you only like to be rude on purpose."

"How many more years are we going to waste here?" asked Breq.

"Too many," said Seivarden, placidly. "Do you remember when you were stoic all the time, even when you were freezing to death or being shot at?"

"You were the one freezing to death," pointed out Breq. "And Kalr Five said it was healthy to complain."

"She only said that because you broke one of the teacups. Because of repression."

"Because I held it too tightly," said Breq, and put a hand on Seivarden's shoulder to steady herself as Seivarden put on her boots.

"Right." Seivarden looked up, and smiled. "I like listening to you complain."

Breq looked back, feeling the strength in Seivarden's shoulder. She didn't let go when Seivarden was finished with the boots.

Seivarden's eyes were wide and dark. "You have a meeting," she said. "With Translator Zeiat."

Breq said something very rude, entirely on purpose. Seivarden didn't try to hide her grin.