Kul Viller Subway – Yellow Line – Eastbound
Rain falls on a paladin and her chronicler as they leave the Grand Central and cross the street to the subway station.
The city stands silent and empty while the heavens wrap themselves around the world like a big grey nothing. This rain will fall forever – all through the afternoon and well into the evening. It’s a day best spent inside. Hot chocolate by the fireplace. Raindrops on the window pane.
You know you would, if you could.
A paladin and her chronicler cannot, but at least the subway is nearly empty, and they find seats for themselves at the end of the car. One on each side of the aisle.
– – –
Toini sighed and removed her shades. Too warm. Over a decade she’d been gone, and they still hadn’t fixed the heating in the subway.
She leaned her head back against the window, closed her eyes, and tugged at her scarf. Green tattooed vines covered her neck, climbed up over her right cheek and wound their way behind her ear and into her hair. A small silver ring pierced her lower lip, just at corner of her mouth, on the right side.
The train rattled and clanked. Sootkin howled in the tunnel outside, and with every passing moment, she got a little closer to her destination. It wasn’t long now. Less than an hour – maybe half.
– – –
“You’re nervous,” said Raoul.
“What?” Toini looked up. “No. I’m not nervous.” She let go of the hem of her parka she’d been tugging at and clasped her hands in her lap.
“You’re fidgeting. You never fidget.”
“I’m not.” She shook her shoulders, and forced herself to smile. “I’m just bored.”
“Mhm…” Raoul nodded, and scratched at his cheek. “Bored. I see.” A grin spread across his face. “I see…”
“What?” Toini frowned at him. “Cut it out. I’m fine.”
“Mhm… Okay…” Smirking, Raoul nodded again.
Toini crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him, and then she turned and stared out the window.
The train rumbled on.
It stopped at a station, and opened its doors. No one stepped on. No one stepped off. The doors closed, and train shook into motion again.
Raoul covered his mouth with his fist and cleared his throat. “What if she isn’t in?”
Toini rolled her eyes and sighed. “She’s in.”
“Are you sure?” A hint of a smile tugged at his lips. “What if she’s sold the place and moved on?”
“Raoul, stop being an idiot.”
“You never know.” He smiled wide and splayed his hands. “Maybe she met some guy and got married and moved to Hemsfil or something?”
“Okay, that’s it.” She glared at him. “Now you’re just messing with me. Stop it.”
He shrugged and crossed his arms over his chest. “It could happen.”
“No!” Toini snapped. “It couldn’t. Shut up.”
“Easy there your holiness.” Raoul chuckled, and he grinned so wide it nearly split his face in half. “Easy. I just want to make sure we’re prepared for all eventualities.”
“Holiness my ass!” Toini shot up out of her seat and raised a hand in warning. “You cut it out now. It’s not funny.”
Raoul shrank back, the smile wiped from his face. “Geez… I’m just messing.”
Toini let out a long breath, relaxed, and let her arm fall. “Yeah, well, just stop it.” She turned back to her seat and sat down. “Okay?”
“Okay, okay. I’ll stop.” He hunched up his shoulder, crossed his arms over his chest and shook his head. “Geez… So sensitive.”
“Oh, for…” Toini tensed up. She clenched her jaws and pressed her eyes together.
She took a deep breath and slowly let the air out through her teeth. Once.
“I haven’t seen my sister for twelve bleeding years. Let me alone.”