Raph swallowed, ducking his head in a nervous nod. He wasn’t sure how she was going to take the way he thought that things were - she’d asked him to go straight to Lucifer, she’d said she wasn’t sure if she was being logical or rational about the situation they were in, but he still didn’t know if she’d be able to accept an answer that boiled down to the situation not being good, but not being as bad as it could have been.
"Now works," he agreed, following her into the room, and collapsed on the bed with a wince, his corporation aching like the past several days had been a marathon, rather than difficult conversation after difficult conversation. After a long moment, he cracked his eyes open, meeting hers. "Do you want me to start with what he said or what I think about our situation now?"
Kay shut the door behind him, leaning against it as she turned to look at him. She almost followed him for a moment to sit down next to him, but crossed her arms instead, chewing on her lip in uncertainty. Looking at how tired Raph seemed, maybe his composure was a facade, afer all.
"…Let’s start with what he said, yeah?" she suggested, her breath rushing out of her heavily. "So we’ve got the basics down."
As he made his way into the flat, shedding shoes and coats in his wake as he went, Raph felt her aura brush tentatively against his and wound his own around hers, trying to pass on the fact that things had gone as well as could be with a burst of bittersweet happiness and more certainty than he had last left her with.
"Kay?" he called softly as he headed towards the room that he could feel her reaching out to him from, not wanting to disturb Nona from her sulk just yet, since this first bit of information was more important and decidedly not something that the young Fate needed to hear about. “I’m back from talking with Lucifer. Are you up for talking about it now, or would you rather wait a while?”
Kay tentatively pulled the door open and held it for him to step through, eyes flicking searchingly over his face. “I’m here,” she said softly, unnecessarily, scanning his expression as he approached. “I’m… we can talk about it now, if you want, while it’s fresh in your mind,” she said a bit nervously and tried to understand the strange surge of… disappointment, nearly, that shot through her upon seeing him relatively calm and collected. What had she expected? Indignant rage and feelings of betrayal on her behalf? Something like the confused tangled mess she had felt, something to convince her she wasn’t crazy, wasn’t this situation like multiple others the way a paranoid madman would? Still, she ought to be… happy for him that he wasn’t upset, ought she not?
Swallowing, she forced her face to run blank as he approached, and gestured wordlessly at the bed inside.
Raphael stared at the door, its impassive face as intimidating as the idea of climbing a mountain the human way, and swallowed, trying to ignore the sunken pit in his stomach.
Oh how he wished that the news he was coming to deliver to Kay was any better than it was. Or anything but what it was.
When she’d asked him to talk to Lucifer himself, judge the news that had sent Kay into such a tailspin for himself, make sure it was actually as bad as she thought it was, he hadn’t expected it to be anything like what the Lord of Hell had told him, and the thought of telling Kay that it wasn’t quite as bad as she thought, but it was still pretty close…
Shuddering, Raphael half-wished that he could turn tail and run, especially since he’d have to deal with a pissed off, teenaged Fate whose dog he’d left in Hell for the moment, to teach her a lesson about respecting people rather than bulldozing over them.
But he couldn’t let himself do that, it wouldn’t be fair to anyone, so he steeled himself and pushed the door to their apartment open.
Silence hung thick and heavy in the flat, all the more stifling for the fact that it was nearly as populated as it had ever been. Kay tilted her head, listening for sounds of Nona scurrying about - the girl had ventured out into the kitchen earlier, angry pit-pats on the linoleum floors and the slamming of the fridge - but had since gone quiet again in the dedicated way only someone precocious and stubbornly grumpy could manage.
Sighing softly, she let her head drop back against the wall, Adena scurrying down towards her at the thumping sound it made. She mouthed a wordless greeting, reaching out to brush her knuckles against the tarantula’s bristly legs as the spider scurried past.
There was no telling when Raph would be back - minus a furry animal, now, and plus knowledge she needed him to have, needed him to share for her to not be alone in judging things for once, not when her judgement was as shitty as it tended to be. Raph had common sense and was optimistic about people. He wanted to like people. Maybe with his… faith, for lack of a better word, and with her bitter misanthropy, they’d average out to something better-equipped to deal with this whole mess.
Abruptly, she sat up - almost as if her thoughts had summoned him, his aura was there once more, and she pushed herself off the bed uncertainly, senses reaching out to brush against it and be absolutely certain it was whom she expected it to be.
'You can keep your bearings by fixing your eyes on a single point', explains the Scientist.
While Nameless agreed that this sounded rather sensible, it also seemed to be missing the larger picture. To which the Scientist replies, ‘You’d rather be sick?’
I’ll be at TCAF this weekend at Booth #168, with the Spera crew, sharing table space with amazing creators Kyla Vanderklugt, Afu Chan and Josh Tierney!
I’ll also be carrying copies of Nameless and the Scientist Book 1 and various prints; please do drop by for a chat!
That is a huge bag of NOOOOOOPPPPEEEEEEE
Logical Mind: Oh look, a bunch of harmless daddy longlegs. No real risk of harm, or danger whatsoever here.
Emotional Mind: FIREFIREFIREKILLITWITHFIREOHGODFIRE!
IT SEEMS MY SHIPMENT OF NOPE HAS ARRIVED
((Imagine someone touches Kay’s hair and it twitches and wobbles and suddenly it’s all spiders))
Delilah laughed. “I’ll be sure to remember that.” How could she forget, after all? Carefully picking the notepad she used to jot down orders when it got busy out of her apron, she jotted the address down, adding her phone number on a whim, tore off the page and putting it in the girl’s pocket.
When they got to the door, Delilah let go of the girl’s arm. “Be careful out there, okay? I’m pretty sure you’ve got enough alcohol in you to disinfect the counter if I had to, and it’s a big city. If there’s anything at all, call me.”
Kay beamed blearily at her, inexplicably happy all of a sudden and marvelling at how much simpler things were when she couldn’t think straight.
"Thanks," she said with feeling, patting the woman’s shoulder again (and surreptitiously sending the weight of a few more golden coins dropping into the apron pocket - it was customary to tip, after all).
Then she turned and ambled away unsteadily down the path, under the glinting night lights and past the rushing cars, off to find the next place to lose herself in before she could brave Raphael again.
Kay would already be halfway to it when Delilah laughed weakly, shaking her head. “Shank’em. Got it,” she chuckled, carefully tucking away the money and the conch shells in her apron pocket and glancing at the group of men in the corner, who didn’t seem to have noticed (nor did they look like they were pretending not to have noticed). “You’re a weird person, you know that?”
Getting out from behind the counter, Delilah took hold of Kay’s elbow, helping steady her on her way out. “Do you want me to write down the address to my place in case you need somewhere to crash and the boyfriend won’t let you in? Least I could do.”
Kay squinted at the air in front of her as she tried to imagine that scenario - but somehow, putting the unlikelihood of that into words seemed beyond her at the moment.
"Sssure," she mumbled, returning to patting Delilah idly on the back on their way towards the door. "Ya- y’really nice f’r a h’man, y’know that? Rem’mber, shank'em'f y'have to, okay?”
…the implication that there might be a murder anyway was really, really not helping your case. Delilah was halfway to making the decision to stop her somehow when suddenly large wads of money were shoved into her hands.
Delilah stared at the bills, not really knowing where some of these were from but knowing enough to hazard a guess that they were worth more than enough to cover the bill and then ten more of them, only to be given even more. The gold coins alone looked like each one of them would cover a month’s worth of rent in London.
"I… I can’t take this," Delilah protested feebly, trying to at least hand the bills back. "It’s way too much, don’t you need this yourself? Treat your boyfriend to something nice, get him those flowers you mentioned?…”
Kay snorted loudly and unattractively, rolling her eyes as she finished heaping the small pile of treasure into the human’s hands, topped off with a few exquisite conch shells. “Pshhhhh,” she hissed loudly, and shook her head vigorously. “He doesn’t need’t, I don’ need’t, you need’t a lot."She gave her a wide, toothy grin. “‘Fter all, you’re paid crapp’ly’nough tha’you’ve got ta put u” w’th pep’l like me. An’ rememb’r,” she added meaningfully, loweirng her voice to a growl, “an’one tries ta take tha’ f’m ya, ya jus’ shank'em. Gottit? Gottit.”
Stuffing her wallet back into her coat and haphazardly readjusting it on her shoulders, she scrambled for her bag of books, then gave the human an unsteady salute. “Thanksss’l’tf’r ever’thing,” she slurred, grinning giddily at Delilah. “Ya’ve b’n a great help. I’ll- I’ll do what’v’r ya tol’ me ta do, ‘kay? An’ you do tha’ too.”
With that, she turned and began the long and arduous amble towards the door.