Friday, 30 March 2018

Fic: Meeting Alexei

Alexei sat on the rough stone cot. Even though there was no one to see, he sat with elegance and poise; back against one wall, leg up on the bed, arm stretched out to the knee, forming a delicate equilateral triangle of disdain, silently announcing to the otherwise empty cell that he held it personally responsible for his lack of entertainment.
  “I’m bored,” he declared. There was no immediate response, which only served to remind him that no-one was listening. He rolled his eyes in disgust, his head falling back against the wall. What was even the point of witty commentary without an audience?
  Presently there was a soft shuffling noise outside the solid metal door - a click - and the door swung slowly open. A hooded figure leaned into the room, looked around, apparently caught sight of Alexei, and nodded in a “follow-me” gesture before ducking back out into the corridor.
  Alexei remained still.
  Shortly the hooded figure reappeared. “Hello?” it asked quietly.
  Alexei languidly turned his head to face his visitor.
  “Are you room service?” he asked flatly.
  “Wh-? Um,” replied the stranger, drawing back his hood to reveal a beard and long, matted hair. “No, no. I’m egress. Your way out. Come on.”
  The stranger disappeared again before, after a further moment of stubborn inactivity from Alexei, returning to step fully into the room.
  “So, not in a hurry?” asked the stranger.
  “Congratulations on noticing a thing,” said Alexei.
  “Hm,” said the stranger. “Well, I know that you don’t want to be here.”
  “Really. And how do you know that.”
  “The door’s open,” said the stranger. “Wouldn’t be open if you wanted to stay, now, would it?”
  Alexei looked at the man properly for the first time. He had the stupidest smile on his face, as though he’d just made a hilarious joke. And he was old, really old. Like thirty. What the hell was his deal.
  “So, well,” the stranger continued. “I’m going to leave. And, you should know, whatever it is you did to get put in here, the people upstairs are talking execution. So. I mean, you’re free to do what you want.”
  The stranger raised his hand noncommittally and slipped out of the cell as easily as he’d arrived, leaving the door open behind him. Alexei waited a little longer. Then he rolled his eyes again.
  “Ugh,” he moaned loudly, before slipping off the cot and padding gracefully out of the door.
  He was definitely not following the the strange, strange man. He was just heading in the same direction. For now.

Fic: Introductions

Sam effortlessly disengaged from another conversation, circulated around the crowds in the grand lounge, and found himself standing in front of the couch. Best get this out of the way early, he thought to himself, grinning his friendliest grin.
  "Oh, hullo!" Weasel was saying, relaxing into the upholstery next to a character who appeared equally out of place in this high-class establishment. "We was just talking about you, Egr-"
  "Sam! Yes, it's Sam, hello Weasel," Sam interrupted. "I'm Sam and this is my friend Mel, I want to say Mel?" he added, gesturing to the lady next to him and pausing for her confirmation.
  "Um, yes, Melinda," confirmed Melinda. "Hello, nice to meet you?"
  "Hello and yes this is Weasel," Sam introduced in turn.
  "Yeah me and Dagger here, this is Dagger," continued Weasel, gesturing to his own companion, "We was just talkin about how a gentleman such of your talents might be of use around here..."
  "Oh?" Sam prompted, suddenly focused. His brow furrowed with concern, though the smile slipped only slightly. "Is there, um. Is somebody in trouble?"
  (In fact at that very moment, three floors down and in an entirely different wing of the Palace, someone very dear to Sam was indeed in trouble. Sam did not learn this until later, by which point it was too late.)
  "Oh no no," Weasel flashed an easy grin of his own. "Not yet anyway. But we was just thinking, nice place like this, so many shiny trinkets and silverwares - a body could find themselves in all sorts of trouble."
  Sam blinked a couple of times, the amiable smile still plastered across his face. Not for the first time, he wondered if he should really feel so responsible for the things people did after he helped them out. They were free to do as they would, of course, and he would hesitate to tell them otherwise. But he was equally free to advise, to suggest, to let them know how bad he'd feel to see them locked up or otherwise inconvenienced, especially when it could be easily avoided.
  "Please don't," was his simple, cheerful suggestion.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Fic: Coming Home

Sam slipped away during all the hubbub of the Naylor estate welcoming their master home. He let himself into the stables, quietly closing the door behind him.
  The horses were all new, of course, after more than two decades away. But the building itself was largely unchanged. Stabling was not an area that invited rapid innovation, after all. Sam hooked his hand around a familiar wooden beam, worn smooth by generations of stable hands taking a moment's pause.
  He found he couldn't remember the last time he'd felt so at home, more than simply bedding down for a night or two. No, he quickly corrected himself, he could; here, with Rich and Ros, before he left. But it wasn't the building. It wasn't even the estate. He'd been home long before they'd crossed the boundary, before they even began the long journey. He could, in fact, pinpoint the exact moment he'd felt that rush of belonging, of returning to the place that would always be home, no matter where it was.

"Where did you get this?" he'd demanded, pushing up against the so familiar stranger, a knot of emotion tangling his insides. Fear, rage. Hope.
  "I've always had it, Sam," the other man had replied, and that was when Sam knew. The crease of his brow, the flat calm of his voice, the angle of his jaw. How had he not seen it sooner?