Stupid NumbersStarted by Cygnus Essair at Jun 12, 2019 8:12 pm
Einmanudur 20, 76
Icarus had tried, already, to give him something to do, but apparently, Cygnus was a worrier. It'd seem, so was Kassi's guard guy (Cygnus was on the other side of the medical ward from him), and Leon, but that kind of made sense. Of everyone in House Essair, Cygnus thought those two loved Kassi the most. Sometimes, Cygnus was still jealous of him. Kassandros, of course. Because he really did seem to have no trouble at all, making friends, getting people to like him, and Cygnus only ever seemed to be able to make trouble. And enemies, he had a few enemies by now. At least Canius was gone. It meant that was one less problem for Kassandros to have to worry about.
What were they supposed to do now, anyway? With Kassandros gone, at least for the foreseeable future, it seemed like House Essair didn't really have any direction anymore. Which was odd, because Icarus seemed to have a plan, at least (it was for the best, Cygnus didn't really know what it was, because he'd have fewer opportunities to mess it up). It was funny, how Kassandros seemed to be the one that kept them all moving the right direction. And it was really weird, and made him feel... uncertain? Uneasy? Hmm. He wasn't sure what that was, but it was an unpleasant feeling, whenever he happened to glance up at his brother, over there. It seemed like he was just sleeping. Cygnus thought mom had said it was a little more complicated than that. He wasn't capable of understanding more complicated than that.
At the moment, he was working on some paperwork. He could at least write these, that was a little help. Even if he couldn't actually do stuff. Admittedly, though, the young one, Estelle, and um. The cute one from Lancaster... Stephan? (Cygnus was normally so bad at names, he'd be surprised if he got that right.) They were being slightly distracting. He was still here, because his mother was (she was the one that'd broken her leg several times), and the girl was here because her father was (he was Kassi's guard), and apparently he was teaching her maths.
Cygnus never did understand maths. At some point, the girl got something right, and he loosed a grunt, smacking the papers into his face. "How did you get that?!" ... oh, wait, they weren't talking to him. Uhh. Uhhhh.
"You're doing really well, Estelle." Sepheres made a point of making sure she knew that because numbers could be very difficult for some people and she really was doing quite well at this, considering she had no formal teaching and he'd never tried to teach before.
Sepheres was considering what to set her up to try with the counters next when the exclamation from someone else in the room caught his attention. Oh, the third triplet, Cygnus? ... Yeah that was right, Cygnus. Sepheres hadn't realized the other was listening to them, and it made him a little self-conscious. But it was what he said that really hit home. Because it sounded like Cygnus didn't agree with the answer she'd given.
Mentally Sepheres ran through the numbers one more time, ensuring that he hadn't told her wrongly but the answer he came up with that time was the same as it had been the first.
It was possible that the reaction was more that he didn't know how to work out the answer at all. But that seemed... less probable to Sepheres if only because he imagined that even the third-son of a house like Essair had likely received a solid education. Then again, he supposed it didn't always sink in, and that wasn't even always the fault of the student. And, well, Sepheres didn't want to wrongfully imply anything.
"Is that not the answer you got?" Sepheres turned his attention to the Essair sibling fully, head tilted just slightly to one side. Being in this house had made him perhaps a little more bold than he might have been were they still in Lancaster, but he was at least comfortable in the knowledge that he wasn't in danger.
He hoped his tone would encourage the older boy to elaborate a little. Sepheres hadn't ever really spoken with him before, and honestly he didn't see a reason not to start now - if they were going to be in the infirmary a lot together (which, given he was Kassandros' brother, they probably were...) they might as well get to know each other at least a little.
...And if he really was that bad at math, maybe Sepheres could try to help that, too. .... One step at a time though.
Mostly, he was trying to figure out what pathway the girl had taken to find that number, and then tried to figure out how to use that pathway to get the same answer. Because he had absolutely no faith in his own ability to do mathematics. Most likely, the number she got was right, and the one he'd gotten was wrong, because numbers, quite bluntly, didn't make sense to him. Kassi had said once that they were too abstract a concept for him to understand (whatever that meant).
He was sure that made sense to his elder brother.
Er. No, it wasn't, but probably not for the reason the guy thought. Cygnus turned a tiny bit pink, at the realization they were paying attention to him (he wasn't used to that), and then shook his head. "I got twelve," he said. "and I'm pretty sure that's wrong." Again, he had no faith in his ability to maths. He was kind of curious -- it wasn't like he had anything else to be doing, aside from writing these letters, and probably some minor panic (no one really knew if Kassi would be okay, but he was much more likely to be, at least, and Cygnus could be happy with that as a start). "But I'm not really very smart, anyway." Cygnus was coming to the conclusion that Kassandros and Icarus were being overly nice when they didn't call him stupid.
But he was kind of stupid.
Sepheres considered that for a moment, mentally running through some of the more common ways that problem could have been done. And, after a moment or two, the younger boy realized he knew exactly how Cygnus had gotten that answer. It didn't make it any more the right answer, but he could see the logic in having gotten it if one wasn't very good with numbers.
"It is," He admitted carefully. "But I actually can understand how you got that answer." Which was good, in a way, because it helped Sepheres explain it, if Cygnus happened to want to know.
Sepheres wasn't sure that he agreed with that assessment. Oh, he knew there were reasons that someone might think that, but it seemed just as likely that the truth was closer to the fact that he just hadn't found what he was smart at yet. That seemed a little patronizing though, so Sepheres didn't say that.
"If you'd like I can try and explain it?" He wasn't sure if Cygnus was interested in learning, but Sepheres didn't see there being any harm in offerring him the chance to. Likely the worst that happened there was that he refused and they both went on with their days. Certainly he didn't think Estelle was going to mind having someone else join them.
At least it made sense to someone. Well, it made sense to Cygnus, to be fair, but he was pretty sure it wasn't necessarily supposed to make sense. Or, more sense wrong than it made right. Or something. (Cygnus wasn't very good at this thinking thing.) On the other hand, somehow it was somewhat reassuring that, someone got his logic, even if it wasn't very good logic. It meant, maybe he wasn't quite so dumb as he thought he was.
(Well, mostly he thought he was impulsive, but it wasn't like these things that required too much thinking came naturally to him, either. It was like Icarus and Kassandros had gotten all of his ability to think.)
"If you think you can?" he said. "Kassi said once that he thinks numbers are too abstract a concept for me to get normally. Whatever that means..." Maybe it made more sense to Stephan than him. "... what's your name again?" He was still fairly certain it wasn't Stephan, but he still wasn't remembering what his name was. And maybe randomly calling him a name that wasn't actually his name would be construed as rude.
Cygnus was trying not to make waves. And besides, if he was going to be nice enough to try teaching him how to numbers, Cygnus didn't want to be rude, that seemed like a very poor way of saying thank you.
"Well, I'm certainly up for trying." Sepheres mentioned with a smile. Too abstract a concept? Well... "Though if Kassandros was right, then I think I do have an idea." Because sure, depending on how you looked at them numbers could be quite abstract, but basic math didn't have to be. If it was just thinking of it in abstracts that was the problem, then getting him used to the basic concepts in a nonabstract form should help quite a bit.
"I'm Sepheres." He introduced himself as almost an afterthought. His name wasn't usually that important to people, so it didn't surprise him that the Essair didn't know it. Honestly he was more surprised that the teen wanted to know his name at all. It was a nice gesture though, and of course it wasn't any trouble to give it.
Just, a strange feeling to have someone want to know. Nice, but strange. It occured to Sepheres about there that it was actually probably quite sad that the thought that someone might want to know who he was, who they were talking to was strange. Because it shouldn't have been. Hm. Well, so went life, or something like that. This house was full of things that Sepheres found to be strange.
But he'd already figured out that that was kind of a nice thing, because if it was strange to him, that was because it was different than what he was used to. And that was a good thing.
That made one of them, at least. Cygnus made a slightly wistful expression, and shuffled over there, to sit next to Estelle. ... she was kinda cute, and didn't seem to hate him, at least, so maybe learning together might not be so bad. It wasn't like he was good at judging the character of bigger people, he could be wrong, but she didn't seem the type that'd make fun of him when he messed up. At least, not too much.
"Glad that made sense to someone," Cygnus said. "... see, in my head, I knew your name started with an S, but the only S name my brain was giving me was Stephan. ... you don't look like a Stephan." Not really. But who knew what a Stephan even looked like, anyway? He never did understand that expression, exactly, but other people used it, and Cygnus had eventually picked it up from hearing it all the time. How did one look like their name? Names had nothing to do with what you looked like, right? So it shouldn't be any more possible to look like a Stephan than it was possible to look Macenian.
... maybe he was overthinking it.
"Oh, er, I'm Cygnus. ... lots of people can't tell us apart." Actually, most people. It was almost miraculous mother could, and she was their mother. Absent for a long time, so she had an excuse, at least, and somehow she could still tell them apart. Maybe it was mother magic. "The idiot works, too." Yeah, so it did. "Nice to meet you properly, finally." Wasn't he the scary blond guard-guy's kid? ... Gannicus. Yeah, right. Cygnus didn't pay much attention to the blood games (they were honestly boring to him), but he did remember Gannicus was a Big Deal with a capital Big Deal. And Cygnus could kind of understand why.
It was sort of strange neither of his kids seemed to be remotely built like him. But then, they apparently hadn't been raised for the games, either. That was fortunate. Kassi always hated the games, and maybe Cygnus should hate them, too. ... he'd work on figuring out why, later.
"Not as far off as you might have been." No. ... Not that Sepheres would have recognized 'Stephan' as an attempt at his name, but an 'S' was a pretty good start, and this particular one had known that it wasn't the right name at least enough to ask so that was something. Maybe he had a low bar, Sepheres recognized that - but at least trying that was enough for him.
"Oh, I did have the right triplet." Sepheres sounded relieved. He hadn't been entirely certain between Cygnus and Icarus. But they did act a little differently so he'd kind of... guessed the one. But having confirmation was nice because accidentally calling him by name and finding out it was the wrong name would be pretty rude. "It's nice to meet you too." Sepheres responded with a small smile.
And it was, because he seemed like a nice enough guy and pretty much everyone in Essair had been nice, so even though it was weird... yeah it was nice to start to meet them. And he was just... finally starting to get used to the whole idea of most people being pretty nice that he interacted with in the house. Sure, out there in the real world it wouldn't be so kind. But in here the guards were rather picky about who got far enough in to be a problem.
"... That seems like an awfully rude thing to call someone." So Sepheres was just not going to do that.
"So is there anything about numbers you consider yourself to be particularly good at already?" From the sounds of it before, not really? Maybe? But Sepheres didn't want to just assume that and then find out that he was being rather patronizing starting all the way back at the beginning where Estelle was.
Speaking of. Sepheres arranged the cluster of small objects until Estelle had twelve of them to work with. "Split these into three groups with the same number in each." She didn't need to quite understand the math concept behind that yet, but he was interested to see if she could do it.
(He didn't see why not? She was pretty good at this.)
Did it? It was true, though. "Can something be true and also rude?" he asked, sounding a bit perplexed. All the brains in the Essair family, see, they went to Icarus and Kassandros. By the time Cygnus had come out, there wasn't much left for him. Instead, he got a lot of personal charm, maybe. He was more social than his older brothers. Neither Kassandros or Icarus thrived very well in social situations, but Cygnus? He could make friends with a rock. Maybe not a rock exactly, but a rock. You know, like those not-literal phrases Kassandros occasionally used to describe something.
"Does being able to count to fifty count?" he asked. He could count to fifty, sure. Counting was fine enough, it wasn't that hard a concept to grasp, he guessed. It was just a matter of adding up a certain number of imaginary things, right? Then, he could practice counting in his room, too, by counting the specks of dirt on his window, and the cracks in the wall, and the scuff marks on the floor, and that wasn't a very arbitrary, confusing thing. It was something he could make sense of. If he could manage one thing with numbers, then, why was the rest so hard? That was why he was convinced, of course, that he was an idiot.
And it wasn't just mathematics! There were a whole host of things he was terrible at. Everything from remembering names, to being able to read body language, and sometimes he had issues recognizing faces. He hadn't realized that one until more recently. It wasn't that everyone looked the same to him, it was just that he used atypical means of telling them apart.
He looked a bit cross-eyed at Estelle, as she happily squeaked, "Okay!" and ran off with the things Sepheres had just given her to go do that. And Cygnus, he was just trying to figure out how the heck you could split anything into a number of groups with the same amount in each one. That sounded massively fake.
"Technically, I guess." Sepheres allowed. "But that doesn't always mean it needs to be said." Sometimes things were true but didn't need to be shared. But somehow Sepheres didn't think he was an idiot necessarily. Probably he just had different strengths than his brothers. That happened, of course. He and Atenra certainly weren't good at the same things, and they had both of the same parents, even if they weren't twins or triplets.
"That's a great start!" Sepheres responded easily, though it wasn't exactly what he'd been looking for.
"So the thing about numbers is they're much easier if you don't think of them as abstract. Numbers are just things. For example, Estelle there is dividing the items I gave her into equal groups, just like you might split up a group of people into smaller ones for a game. It's easier for a lot of people to use some small object as a counter, especially at first."
Because grasping that the writing on a piece of paper wasn't abstract was a lot harder than physically moving objects around to make the same connections. Usually once the connection was made it got a little easier. Sepheres thought probably he'd have to take it a little slow. He didn't mind though, since he was already working with Estelle anyway.
Besides, it wasn't like Sepheres had a lot of friends anywhere near his age, and it might be nice to sort of get to know one of the ones who was at least sort-of close.