4: Normalcy

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Sophie's mind was left reeling after Fitz pulled her into his office after the funeral, and it kept spinning on through the next week. The prince - no, Fitz - had gone to her for comfort instead of anyone in the court, anyone in his family. He'd found shelter in her embrace, and set his crown - his symbol of his status, of his family, of his power, aside, just so she could run her fingers through his hair. It was now a week after the funeral, and Sophie still found herself daydreaming about running her fingers through his soft, chocolate brown locks. She could hardly believe the moment was real, and she just couldn't stop replaying it in her head over and over again. So when Fitz tapped her on the shoulder from behind as the memory played through her head, Sophie almost dropped the tea tray she was carrying to Biana's room. Fitz reached past her and helped her catch it just in time before anything spilled, smiling sheepishly, "Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you."

"Your highness," Sophie straightened, adjusting her grip on the tray, and curtsied hastily, "to what do I owe the pleasure?"

"I was wondering if you would meet me in my office later, to practice telepathy," he asked quietly, adjusting his cape.

"Oh, are you sure?" she whispered with a worried frown, "Is it not too soon-"

"Please," he begged telepathically, "I need this sense of normalcy."

Sophie didn't know what to say for a moment, so instead she nodded, concluding the conversation with a soft, "Okay. I shall see you at noon?"

Fitz nodded, "That sounds excellent, thank you, Miss Sophie."

With that, he stiffly walked away, his shoulders rigid and his arms moving robotically, as if they weren't his own. Sophie watched with a frown, and suppressed a sigh. He was trying to be normal, she supposed, but it only came off as if he glued himself back together.

Sophie watched him leave before continuing on with her day, wondering what kind of telepathy he wanted to practice. They were both already fully trained, what else could they do? Maybe he wanted to test a theory, maybe he wanted to practice old skills, maybe he just wanted a friend. She never did get a chance to show him her telepathic abilities like she promised him when they first met. Maybe he was cashing in that promise. As she worked, Sophie began to make a list of all the skills she could show him, skills that might even cheer him up a little. Telekinesis was always a good party trick, but it wasn't necessarily a special telepathic ability, so would that count? That would alter the different skills she could show.

Suddenly an idea struck Sophie, what if she showed him how to talk to animals telepathically? She could safely bet that he'd never heard of such a skill, it was something she could teach him, and definitely something to get his mind off of the loss of his best friend. It was genius! Now all she needed was an animal. She then went back to her duties and kept a running list of animals she could borrow to show Fitz how to read the mind of.

At eleven fifty-nine, Sophie stood outside Fitz's office and took a nervous breath as she adjusted the sash around her waist, making sure it covered the seam between the bodice and skirt of her long, draping sleeved, pine green dress. Just as she began to knock, Fitz opened the door, smiling slightly, "Are you ready?"

"Yes," she nodded with a smile, "But I must ask that we take a little field trip."

"Oh really?" he raised an eyebrow curiously, "What for?"

"Do you know what happened to that imp we found?" she asked.

Fitz scratched his head, "No, not really, I think Elwin brought Iggy to the castle gardens to terrorize some pesky bugs eating the flowers."

"Let's go find him!" Sophie smiled, "It'll all make sense after we do, I promise."

With a shrug, Fitz followed Sophie to the castle gardens, and along the way, Sophie planned what she would do when they found Iggy. Fitz seemed a little confused, and Sophie refused to answer his questions of what she was planning to do, promising jovially that he'd like it. By the time they got there, Sophie decided that she would ask the imp to do things like fly around Fitz's head, grab some berries from a bush, and do little flips in the air, all little cute things an imp would never decide to do on his own, at least, so calculatedly.

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