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to make a house a home

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Zenos yae Galvus, despite all expectations, is a glowing houseguest. When he gets up in the morning, leaving you half-asleep in bed, the sounds of the shower running lull you back to sleep. When you rise, he’s in the library, reading some of your many Eorzean books, thanks you for the offer of breakfast but politely declines. While you spend your many hours cataloguing your miscellaneous junk, gathered from your many adventures, he watches, almost lazily, as if he can learn some greater trick to the way you think. As if he can find the beauty of unfinished battle in the motions of your fingertips.

At dinner, he has little in skills that can assist in the kitchen, but he stands there nevertheless, takes the completed meals and sets them atop the table, arranges silverware and fills cups as directed. He is a good companion for dinner conversation—he asks polite questions in all the right places, relates anecdotes that are both respectful and funny, and never looks away from you, lost in your eyes.

It is easy to fall into routine. Once upon a time the idea of Zenos yae Galvus living in your home, cohabitating with you, coming and going with a quiet call when his key turns in the lock, would have been horrifying; a monster, haunting your steps. Instead, it is gentle and easy, and he brings you the occasional gift—armor or weapons, mostly, but he picks up food, too, and lazes away warm afternoons on the lawn, face tilted up towards the sun, invisible behind the high hedge walls of your garden.

It was worth all the wait, all the fight and battle and death and torment, to find peace here, at the end of the journey. With him. Your friend, your enemy, and...something more.

One day, after you have grown used to and comfortable with Zenos and home in the same breath, you come back from a long day out working in the Greenloam Growery and set down the small succulent that you were gifted on the table. Zenos comes back some time later from whatever it is he was doing—hunting, no doubt, knowing him—and settles down at the table.

“What is this?” He asks, and when you turn back from cooking you find him pointing at the pot.

“A cactus.”

Zenos stares at it. “Fascinating.” He picks it up, turns it back and forth between his hands, considering. “What is it for?”

“It’s just a plant.” You turn back to your pot, not wanting to let it boil over. “One that stay small, so it can live in a little pot, like herbs. I was working on potting them in Gridania earlier and brought this one back.” Zenos makes a quiet noise of agreement, and then—

The noise will stay with you forever. It is an unforgettable sound, this gentle whisper of teeth entering the flesh of a fruit noise, and then the crunch of the rest of the jaw hingeing, punching in and past the flesh, into. Into the cactus. The somewhat pained, confused noise, coughing, and you turn around to find Zenos yae Galvus, eyes watering, handsome face screwed up into a look of...something. Something that is beyond description or understanding. Something certainly far beyond the knowledge of man.

He has bitten a chunk out of the cactus. Spines and all.

Okay,” you say.

All right.