Flash Fiction – One Vision May 19, 2012Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
Tags: #fridayflash, flash fiction, Nox and Grimm
It did not seem right to Grimm that the sun was still shining, or that the wind was laden only with the heady scent of flowers. There should have been tempests, he thought bitterly. What was a pronouncement of doom without a bit of rain and thunder to accompany it?
Nox sat on the garden bench next to him, idly twirling a lock of hair between her fingers while he described Death’s visit.
“You are taking this awfully well,” Grimm said.
“I’m thinking. It’s not every day Hel shows up for a social call,” Nox said. She reached up to undo her hair clip and put it in her mouth while she re-coiled her hair. She kept talking while she worked, though her words came out somewhat muffled. “What makes you so sure our fate will be a bad one?”
“Past experience,” Grimm grumbled. “That, and I just rubbed his nose in the fact that he owed me a favor. He did not look amused.”
“What did you expect from Death, visions of happy fluffy bunnies and kittens?” Nox said, tucking the last rogue bits of hair in place. “He has a reputation to uphold.”
“Nox, this won’t go away by ignoring it,” Grimm scolded.
“What do you want me to do? Wail, gnash my teeth, cry ‘oh woe is me’?” she said, but smiled to take the sting out of her words. “If you had any concrete evidence of what our fate might be I might act differently. Hunh. ” A frown furrowed her brow. “Grimm, your sword is talking to me. Does it normally do that?”
Death’s sword started to hum from where it sat, propped up against Grimm’s leg. Nox turned to look at him, her eyes the same metallic grey as the blade.
::Why do you hesitate, guardian?:: she said.
The change in her voice stood Grimm’s hair on end. The sword hummed in time with her words, and Grimm realized it was using her as a proxy to talk to him.
::You know what to do. There are laws that must be obeyed; the balance has to be kept. It was your fate to serve until one came to take your place, and she was marked from the moment your souls were bound. Your time is done. ::
Grimm grabbed the sword and moved away from Nox. “No. I said I would serve in her stead, you can’t have her!”
Nox looked bemused. ::We are not the enemy, guardian. Aren’t you weary of fighting? Do you not want the peace that waits for you at the Road’s end? ::
Part of him did want it. There were times when he was desperately tired, having lived so long beyond his natural lifespan. But how could he tell Nox that her life had just ended? She might never see Loki again, not until he took his last walk down the Long Road and even then his shade would only pass her by. Grimm had spent centuries with nothing left but heartache and regret. That was not a fate he was willing to share with anyone.
“I am sorry,” he said, and sheathed the sword in one smooth, practiced motion. “The price for peace is too high.” He had no idea what he was going to do, but until he gave her the sword the deal was not done.
That was when the idea hit him. It was crazy. There would quite literally be Hel to pay for it. But it was the only way he could think of to keep them both in the mortal realms.
Nox stood up, her hand held out in a warning gesture. ::Be careful of what you choose. You will both bear the good or ill that comes of your decision.::
Grimm did not have to ask Nox what she wanted to do; he already knew what her answer would be. “We’ll take our chances,” he said, and cast the enchantment that would put the sword forever beyond her reach.
The sword’s voice began to fade. ::No more bargains will be made. No more aid of any kind. You are on your own now.::
As the sword disappeared Nox shook her head, her eyes changing back to their normal dark blue. “What was that all about, you die and I end up in purgatory?” she said, making a rude noise. “If that’s its idea of aid then we can do without it!”
“Welcome back short-stuff,” Grimm said, relieved to hear her sounding like her feisty old self again.
She grinned at him. “Hey, I can hear you in my head. Did the casting work after all?” She reached blindly out to him and Grimm padded over to her side, ducking his head under her arm. “What the… you’re furry! Oh, crud, they turned you back into a hound again? What is with them, I thought they owed you a favor!”
“Calm down, it was my choice,” Grimm said, his deep voice rumbling through their soul-bond. “And the fact that I had a choice was the payment of the debt. Listen, if you had so much as laid a pinky on that sword you would become the next guardian. This was the only way to be sure we could both stay here.”
“So where is the sword now?” she asked.
“Somewhere between time and space, until I shapeshift back into a man. Which I have no plans of doing any time soon,” Grimm said.
Nox sighed and leaned her head against his. “We are in a boat load of trouble if we ever end up back in the spirit realms.”
“At least we won’t be in it alone,” he said. “Well, as long as we’re sailing into trouble you should at least be allowed to see it coming. Have a look through my eyes, little one.” His thoughts reached out to hers and they joined together like clasped hands.
A look of profound joy lit up Nox’s face as the world opened up before her, and her eyes welled up with tears. She hugged him and buried her face in the shaggy fur of his ruff.
“You’re welcome,” Grimm said, more at peace with his fate then he had been for a very long time.
This flashfic is part of an ongoing web serial, updated regularly as a part of #fridayflash on twitter. If you are new to Nox and Grimm, you can Click Here to read from the beginning.