She was beautiful. She was so, so beautiful. He’d watch her, surrounded by a gaggle of friends, some of them Deca, some not, some he had slept with, others he hadn’t, but he had eyes only for her - striding down the corridors, books under her arm and red hair flickering behind her.
When the Deca met on the beach south of the Citadel, he sought her out especially. Ushas would often come to him, looking him up and down with her amber eyes, and thinking he didn’t notice how besotted she was, but the eyes he wanted on his body were green and flashing.
He kept his poise around her, of course - he let his guard down only around Theta, and then only occasionally - but they had known one another for years. She knew him. She knew about the drums too. He had let slip one time when he and Theta had fought. She had comforted him. Put her arm round him. From anyone else he would have resented the gesture - but to see her sharp, laughing, often scornful face soft with compassion was more than he could bear. So she knew. And she didn’t care. She didn’t think he was mad.
They could talk together - about anything. They could laugh and tease one another. And they never fought. Not like him and Theta. Sometimes she would make fun of him, it was true and he would feel her words like needles in his flesh - but she never meant it. It felt good to have a normal friendship for once. And once, with a leap in his stomach, he had caught her eyes on him.
But she had no idea. No idea what her laughter and her kindness and her cruelty meant to him. No idea that when he flirted with her, he wasn’t just teasing. No idea that all he wanted was to run his fingers through her dark-red hair; feel her soft lips on his. No idea that she was the only one he had ever loved - a pure, simple, unassuming love, with no thought of possession or darkness or mastery.
Because the only one she loved was Theta.