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Flash Fiction – Three is a Crowd November 20, 2009

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This story is part of a weekly series, updated every friday. Click Here to read from the beginning.

Nox flopped onto the squashy leather chair by her desk, completely exhausted.  It had taken hours to clean up the blood left from treating Loki’s wounds. The spy didn’t think he had been seen amidst all the chaos during the coup, but blood could be used to track him.  Anything that couldn’t be cleaned had to be destroyed, which meant Nox’s dress had to go.  She had changed into a shabby old pair of sweatpants and a short-sleeved shirt to do the rest of the cleanup.

She wiped the sweat from her brow. “We have got to step up the plans for that bar, Grimm.  We can’t have problems like Loki showing up on our doorstep.” 

The ghost hound sprawled out on the floor beside her.  “Loki is the least of our problems.  If the Morning Lord retains his hold on the House of Storms, he’s going to have a strong power base to work from.  And we’re already on his bad side.”

The chair creaked as she leaned forward, arms resting on her knees.  “Do you think my family will go to war over this? We are allies of the Storm Queen.”

“That depends on whether the Convocation decides to get involved.  They tend to stay out of internal House politics, and the Queen’s guard supports the Morning Lord’s claim to the throne.  Although,” he said, his ears perking up, “since you proved he isn’t above a bit of assassination to get what he wants, they may find it hard to ignore the situation.”

“At least we know why the New Dawn cultists let up on us, they were too busy taking down Queen Rhiana.  How much do you want to bet they never find anything but an abdication letter?”

“No bet.”

They both jumped a little as the doorbell rang.  Nox groaned and pushed herself out of the chair.  “This night won’t end!”

Grimm loomed behind her, his mental voice mixed with a rumbling growl. “Careful, little one.  Check the street before you open the door.”

Nox tapped a few buttons on the security monitors.  The only person on the street was a stocky earth elemental in a cheap suit.  “It’s Roald.  Seems my date won’t take no for an answer.” 

Grimm rolled his eyes.  “I’ll go check on our patient.”

Nox opened the door partway to keep Roald outside. “Um, hi.  Didn’t expect to see you here.”

Roald gave her a million dollar smile and produced a bouquet of flowers.  “Since you’re not feeling well, I thought I’d bring something to cheer you up.  Can I come in?”

Nox faked a cough.  “You’d better not, this cold might be contagious.”

“Nonsense!  I’m an earth elemental, we never catch cold like you winter types,” he said.  “Ha ha, you’re an ice elemental, get it? Cold?  Ha!”  He gave her another brilliant smile, obviously pleased with his lame joke.

Nox started to close the door. “I’m really sorry, maybe some other time?”

She felt a hand brush her hair away from her neck, and Loki stepped up close behind her. “Is there a problem, luv?”  He was stripped to the waist – they had needed to destroy his blood soaked shirt along with her dress, and she didn’t have anything in his size to replace it with.

Nox coughed again.  “Um, Roald, this is Loki. Loki, Roald.”

 “We’ve met.”  Roald gave Loki a look generally reserved for something you scrape off the bottom of your shoe.  “Well, I guess I’ll just be going.” He turned to Nox.  “I’d say take care of yourself, but it seems you already have.”

There was a flicker of something dangerous in Loki’s eyes.  “Watch your step, Roald. You don’t want me to give you another lesson in manners.”

The earth elemental spun on his heels and stalked away. Nox waited till he was out of earshot to yell at Loki. “What the hell are you doing? Everyone is going to think we’re an item.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.” He leaned against the doorway. “Has anyone ever told you that you’re beautiful when you glare?  It’s those blue eyes, they cut right through you.”

“Move, loverboy.”

 “I would, but the door is the only thing keeping me from falling over.”

“Oh, for crying out loud.” She slung his arm over her shoulder and steered him back through workshop.  “I should make you drag yourself back upstairs.”

“You should be thanking me.  Roald’s jokes are considered lethal weapons in at least three territories.”

“Give it up Loki, I’m immune.”

 “You’re as cold as ice. Ice elemental, get it? Ha ha!”  He said, in a perfect imitation of Roald.

Nox looked around the loft. “Where’s Grimm?”

“He said something about going to find me some clothes.”

 “Did he also tell you to stay upstairs?”

“He might have mentioned that.” Loki sagged gratefully back onto the couch. “Ahhh. Ow.  I don’t think that healing spell is working very well.”

“It would if you’d stay put. “ Nox crossed her arms.  “I think it’s time for some ground rules.”

“Don’t be sore, boss lady.  If I’m going to pass information to you we need an excuse to meet socially.  And let’s face it, with my reputation,”

“Which is now my reputation.”

“No one will believe I’m just your lab assistant.”

“Fine.  We ‘date’ until this mess with Queen Rhiana blows over. No groping, and we’re all business in private.” 

Grimm materialized next to the couch and dropped a bundle of clothes.  “I leave for five minutes and you’ve already started groping? What happened to Roald?”

Nox threw her hands up in the air and stormed downstairs. 

Loki sat back and admired her retreating figure.  “For an ice elemental she has quite a temper. Where do you think she gets it from?”

“Have you met her mother?” Grimm said.

That cooled off his ardor a bit.  “Ah. Good point.”

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1. Marisa Birns - November 20, 2009

Oh, just love this continuing story!

Poor Roald. Rooting for Loki, though.

Cold as ice. Ice elemental, hahaha

2. Laura Eno - November 20, 2009

Ah, Loki is a charming rogue. 🙂 Another great installment.

3. Mariana - November 20, 2009

My first reading and I’m totally hooked! Most certainly read from the beginning. Very nice Angie! 😀

Mariana - November 20, 2009

Err, “most certainly *will* read…”
Just sayin’

4. mazzz_in_Leeds - November 22, 2009

Oh I do like Loki, excellent addition to the crew!

5. David Shrock - November 23, 2009

I like Loki. Great character.

6. donnacarrick - March 16, 2010

Another excellent installment — and a cautionary tale, too! “Have you met her mother?” hee hee. Gentlemen, take note.

7. Walt - August 4, 2010

I’m liking Loki, he is a nice fit to the story.

8. Xanto - September 2, 2010

Oh yeah, Loki’s awesome! He’s a keeper! 😀

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