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22 August 2011 @ 08:19 pm
Fic: Learning curves  
Title: Learning curves
Rating: G
Word count: 1000+
Characters/pairing: Oz/Bay

“It's important to take note of the length and curve of the tail here. Its shape determines the character.”

Oz looked up from his work. “I'm messin' it up again, aren't I?”

“That only depends on how you look at it,” Bay said. “Right now you're curving it backwards too much for it to be a proper da, but in turn it does become a very nice ta.”

“My hand has a will of its own. It just really wants to write a five after I've done the first bit.” He chewed the inside of his lip for a moment. “Muscle memory, I guess.”

Bay smiled and said, “Yes, but that does not have to be a permanent obstacle. You've learned to play more notes on a guitar after no longer having to think about the first, no?”

“You'd be surprised,” Oz replied, grimacing ever so slightly.

“It's all about curves,” Bay went on to explain. “The way a line glides along the paper. You'll see it's important in the vowels, too.”

Sitting close next to her at the low table, his hand proved to have a mind of its own in another aspect. His palm lay against the soft fabric of her chuba while his thumb drew small circles on the thigh underneath it. There were curves on his mind alright, though they weren't ones of ink.

Bay seemed very much to be doing her best to ignore the caress, teacher mode in full swing. The failure became apparent when Oz saw a blush creep up her cheeks.

“Here, I'll show you,” she said, a small smile quirking at her lips. She sat up and reached for a pen while trying to avoid his gaze.

Oz withdrew her hand form under the table and straightened up as well, putting down his pencil and resting his arms on the wooden tabletop.

Bay thought for a moment. “How about we write your name?”

“It's been a while since I had to practice that,” Oz said with a smile, imagining himself back in kindergarten and asking his teacher if he could take Dr. Seuss's ABC home with him just this one time. He slid the piece of lined paper across the table to Bay, who put her pen to it. “But sure.”

“To write your name we start with the da,” she said. Her hand drew two swift lines on the paper and wrote 'da' underneath it. “Besides not curving it too much, you should be careful that you do not make it too short, either. That way it will become a nga instead.”

“That's the thing, though,” Oz said, gazing at the paper on which Bay's handwriting made it seem very easy. “I know the difference, but I don't really see it, I suppose.”

“You don't see it right away as of now, but you will,” Bay said. “See it as the difference between the letters n and h. Imagine someone writes a word, let's say 'hair', but doesn't give enough height to the first letter. You don't see that mistake, you just see a different word with a completely different meaning.”

Oz pushed a stray lock that had disentangled itself from a braid back behind Bay's ear. “Radically,” he said, failing to suppress a grin.

A frown appeared on Bay's features, as if she was trying to comprehend the joke but failed to do so. “Nair is a caste in Hinduism.”

“Oh. Right,” Oz said, withdrawing his hand and briefly scratching his neck with it.

Bayarmaa nodded once and flashed one of those quick smiles before reverting her attention back to the paper.

“Next is na,” she said, her hand drawing a straight line with a curl underneath it. “But your name is not Danael, so we need to change it to a ni.” She looked at Oz. “How do we do that?”

“Add a vowel marker.”


“Ehr... on top?”

“Yes, like this.” She drew a hooked line above the second syllable, which looked distinctly like the corner of her mouth when she was amused. But then my homework was never quite like this... the words went in Oz's head. “When you put it underneath instead, it will be read as the vowel u.”

Oz nodded in understanding and Bay went on, “Then we write an e. It is an a with another vowel marker.” Another letter, this one with a diagonal line above it. “You see that this is very similar to the i, but does not have a hook.”

“Uh-huh,” Oz said, seeing what she had meant about the importance of curves.

“Then the final letter”—more swift lines—“and then?”

“A shad.”

A vertical, straight line followed the four radicals. “Very good,” Bay said and put down her pen. Pointing to the small dots separating the characters she said, “Also take note of where I put the tseg. They are small, but of great importance because they indicate syllables.”

Oz eyed the five characters that formed his name, their shape as alien to him as the actual meaning of the word. “It seems really easy when you write it,” he said, his own handwriting appearing as little more than chicken scrawls above her smooth lines.

“It takes practice,” Bay said. “For me, learning how to write your script took time as well. Do you want to try it?” she asked.

“Sure,” Oz answered, accepting the paper when she slid it back to him.

He picked up his pencil and placed the graphite to the right of Bay's writing. Less smoothly than Bay had had, he drew out four characters, separating them with tseg and ending the word with a shad like she had shown him.

“How's that?”

Bay's mouth curved into a smile that Oz wanted to kiss the corner of. “You are close,” she said.

“But I could be closer?”

“A little bit, yes.”

“Hmm,” Oz said, putting his pencil back to the paper. “What if I do this?” he asked and drew one more character on the paper, in front of the line he had just finished, and showed his work to Bay.

Looking over his completed work, she said, “Now it is perfect.”

A/N: The chuba is a piece of traditional Tibetan clothing.
Nothing you recognize is mine. Oz and Bay belong to Joss Whedon. Song lyrics ('But then my homework was never quite like this') are by Van Halen from the song “Hot for teacher”.