tagged Nico Sylvie

A Touch of Friendship

The inn at Crossed Roads wasn't home, but when Sylvie returned to it after a few days' jaunt to explore, it felt closer to one than most places she had been to.

Nico seemed to be at home everywhere and with everyone. Over the weeks preceding their expedition she had snuck under the walls Sylvie had built around herself by simply acting like them becoming friends was natural. The casual touches—a hand to the elbow to get attention, a pat on the shoulder—had shown Sylvie how she had distanced herself from people, simply because these things had become so unusual to her.

The few days of trekking through wilderness meanwhile had shown Sylvie that she wasn't used any more to carrying her whole gear on her back. She would take care of that as soon as she put the pack down in her room.

Hellos and welcomes slowed that down a bit, but thanks to Nico promising a full report later they made it through.

"Not a very informative trip, but thanks for coming," Sylvie said on the doorstep.

"At least it was entertaining. Would you like a shoulder-rub?"

Startled by the sudden change of topic without a change of tone, Sylvie stopped rubbing the back of her neck and couldn't think of the proper answer.

"You would not be imposing. If you'd like to be talked into it, just nod." Nico kept prattling on, grinning, right over Sylvie’s stifled laughter, “And I’m good at it, or so I’m told, and doing something you’re good at tends to be fun, and doing something that makes a friend feel good tends to do the same—”

“All right, I’m convinced.”

They shed packs, shoes, and jackets and ended up sitting on the bed, near the edge. Sylvie folded her hands loosely in her lap and tried to relax. She could feel Nico’s knee lightly touching her thigh, warmth seeping through the cloth. Warmer still were Nico’s hands, gently kneading the tension out from between Sylvie’s shoulders.

But in turn her chest seized up. Sylvie took deep, even breaths, trying to smooth away that attack of nerves. She didn’t want to cry, even less than usual when she couldn’t even explain why.

“Hey,” Nico said gently, concern shimmering through her tone, “this exercise is meant to relax you. Am I doing something wrong?” Her hands rested lightly on Sylvie’s shoulders.

“No. I don’t know.” After an unsteady breath, Sylvie noticed that she was leaning into Nico’s touch, and said the first thing that came to mind. “Could you just hold me for a bit?”

“Sure. Let me just…” Without loosing touch of Sylvie, Nico scooted back against the wall and stuffed the cushion in the small of her back.

Sylvie followed her slight pull and leaned against the smaller woman’s chest.

“Comfy?” Nico put an arm around Sylvie’s back.

Sylvie shifted a little, nestling her face against Nico’s neck. “Mhm. You?”

“Me, too.” She stroked Sylvie’s back lightly.

“I’m sorry—”

“You have nothing to be sorry about.” Nico almost whispered. “You can have as much of my time as you want.”

Sylvie relaxed. She listened to Nico’s heartbeat, and moved with her breath. Soon she was breathing in when Nico breathed out. The rhythm of the strokes on her back fit in there somewhere. When she cried, it was not painful, just her eyes flowing over with warm tears. Breath, heartbeat, thoughts, everything slowed.

Feeling warm and protected and accepted, Sylvie drifted into sleep.

tagged Elroy

Short Leave

Elroy recognised Kaya by the feel of her presence before he could see her, naturally. As they exchanged greetings and she slipped into the seat across of him, he noted the changes she had made: red-haired, pale and freckled rather than black haired and olive-skinned, and she was a good head shorter than she used to be. The butterfly tattoo near the corner of her left eye was also gone. She apparently liked changing vocations every couple of decades.

"What are you up to now?"

She showed him an anchor tattooed on the inside of her wrist and grinned.

"Klabauter?"

"Yes. I figured as a ship-spirit, I'd get around more than being assigned an area for psychopomping, or a charge as a muse or guardian. Maybe it'll hold my interest longer.” Her eyes flicked towards the faint shimmer of his wings. "How's your current charge?"

"Sleeping."

She chuckled. "Or you wouldn't be here?"

"Yes; he's not doing well at the moment, so I better pay attention." He caught himself before saying more than he should and dragging the mood down. "What about you? Do you already have a ship?"

"No, but I've been scouting for one." She grinned self-satisfied. It was more unusual than having one assigned. "There's an oceangoing freighter on keel that hasn't been claimed or assigned yet, and I put in my application early. Means I'll have to idle for a while, but it won't blur me."

"You could always read up on old cases."

"Not too old. The age of sail may look romantic in hindsight, doesn't help much with a modern ship, though. Besides, you just want to lure me to a date in a library."

"Not only."

She laughed, and Elroy felt himself unwind into comfort. Guarding meant little direct interaction with anyone, not even his charge. Taking a break had been a good idea.

tagged Plants

Too Much Water

When Eve came back from her holiday, her beloved bonsai had exactly one green leaf left.

The neighbour who’d been plant-sitting had meant well, but mistaken yellowing leaves as sign of it not having enough water, rather than the reverse, and overwatered it catastrophically.

After accepting profuse apologies, Eve went to work. She had taken care of that plant for fifteen years, and wasn’t going to stop now.

She carefully removed the sodden earth and pruned those roots that had started rotting, and the branches connected to them. It did not leave much, just one of the main branches.

After re-potting, Eve kept checking soil moisture several times a day, and waited.

The last leaf yellowed and fell.

Eve kept up the routine for weeks, occasionally bending the branch slightly to test if it was brittle.

Until a few new buds appeared.

Zenith

People think I’m crazy, usually even when I try to explain to them why I like getting shot out of a cannon. Sure, the rush of acceleration when the propellant explosion hits you is a huge rush of excitement, too. But the best part is the high point.

See, something shot from a cannon travels in an arc, and between the way up and the way down there is a moment of weightlessness. Everything just seems to stop, and I can take a long second to enjoy the view.

Bloody good aim is important, sure. Can’t miss the net once.

Combining the prompts "Zenith" from Aldersprig and "Zany" from Tara Tyler.

Yard

It was always the same. A new school class arrived at the youth hostel next door, and if the weather was good, some would gather in the yard and play football.

Calling out to each other, cheering, whooping, cursing, Charly wouldn’t mind much yet, but the sound of the ball hitting the wall of the room he worked in made him flinch every time.

When he opened the door for the florist, he went round to the hostel yard, and yelled, “Keep the noise down.” When he had the kids’ attention, he added, “We’re trying to prepare a funeral here.”

Combining the prompts "Yard" from Tara Tyler and "Yell" from Becca Stareyes.

Xenophobia

Gemma did not want to show that she was afraid, particularly of the flock of black-haired children talking among themselves and laughing.

She just wanted to find her parents again.

It felt like she had walked all day when she reached the waterfront. That was the right direction, but turn right or left?

One of the local children approached her, a fruit in an outstretched hand, as if she were a shy animal. She was hungry…

While she was distracted, one of the other children snuck up on her and tousled her red brown hair.

She ran off shrieking.

"Xenophobia" was a prompt by Becca Stareyes

Fiction tags: Third person Drabbles

Welcome

Tom put on his most charming smile. “Hello Clare. I’d like to talk to Marv. May I come in?”

“Yes. I mean no. Wait.” She raised her hand. “Dad’s not home. And I may not let anybody in.”

“Will he be back soon?”

“I guess.”

“I’d like to wait for him. It’s not like I’m a stranger.”

“Yeaahhh. I guess.”

When he was less than half a step inside, Clare said, “No, sorry, but they said ‘anybody’.”

He wanted to push in, but the refusal was stronger than he was.

He’d have to try again for that sweet little morsel.

Combining the prompts "Welcome" from Aldersprig and "Wibble" from Dev.

Viridian Vegetation

“What did you want to show me?”

“Come on in.” Henry picked up a potted plant and led Joanna to the living room.

She wondered if the avena grass was replacement for hers, that had caught a strange disease, turning all grey. Random gifts from Henry? Weird.

Odder still was the bat he retrieved from a cabinet. It was pale blue.

When Henry set the creature on the potted grass, it soon bit down close to the roots. Several blades started turning grey, while the bat turned viridian.

Henry shrugged. “I thought you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

Combining the prompts "vegetative" from Aldersprig, "viridian" from Becca Stareyes and "variable" from Tara Tyler. This follows the story Losing Colour

tagged Magic Eodea Yrn

Undertown

Dehrai crossed through the mountain, leaving light in his wake.

At the lowest point of his circuit, under sea level, Dehrai’s fingers lingered over runes keeping the tunnels unflooded. Those did not need weekly renewal, and no-one would teach him their workings.

On his climb back he fed more light-spells in the communal workshops and dwellings too deep under the city even for lightwells, letting thanks warm him.

As a mote grew to a glow too bright to look into, he smiled. Air and light had called him, not stone and metal. He would follow that call again

"under-" was another prompt by Aldersprig. :)

Theology

On the way from a far-flung field back to her home, a farmer met a young priest, and they exchanged greetings.

She said, “Looks like rain tomorrow.”

“Why do you say that?” asked the city-bred priest.

“Rain follows a red sunset quite often.”

“The Maker crafted the physical world in mystery. Faith in providence will easy your heart, not trying to understand.”

The farmer, unsurprised since she was used to the ways of young priests, paraphrased different scripture, “The Maker gave us eyes to see, and a mind to think.”

When they parted ways, the priest thought hard.

Aldersprig gave me the prompts "training" and "theocracy", which is where I started, though I wandered away a little.

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