From dailyprompt: “not quite like that”
“wearing someone else’s clothes”
“together, they fight crime!” It all fell together from those three, but Ascha still managed to surprise me. Might be fae apoc.
“So when do we get to meet this mystery woman?” Kendall teased.
“It’s not quite like that,” Ascha protested weakly.
“I suppose it has to be different,” he conceded. For a moment, she thought she’d somehow dodged the bullet (why were metaphorical bullets so much harder than the real sort?) but he persisted, “I mean, you’ve brought every other boy, girl, and alien you’ve dated home for dinner at least once. Sometimes more than once, when Javari was living with us. But that’s ‘dinner,’ I guess.”
“There was only the one alien,” she complained weakly. “And, really, you make it sound like I have a revolving door on my bedroom. I’ve lived with you for five years, Ken.”
“I know, I know,” he said, rushing to placate her, and, for a second time, she thought she’d derailed him. “Five years, six months, and three weeks. And in all that time, there’s been six people, including the alien. So, no. Next to me, you’re a nun. Next to Corinne, you’re… well, not a nun. But that’s because she is.” He flapped a hand impatiently, clearing out that conversation. “The point is, have you ever not brought one home before?”
“I have still brought home every being I’ve dated, and even the stray cat I picked up that turned out to be sentient.” And maybe that would distract him? Please?
“Aah, Tabby. What happened to her?”
“She got her own talk show, eventually. Now she’s writing self-help books and owns her own house.”
“That’s gratitude for you.”
“Yeah. Teach me to pick up strays.” Not that Tabby hadn’t sent her a couple fat checks, but she’d long since learned to keep money away from her roommates; they had a habit of devouring it.
“Ascha, you’re never going to stop picking up strays. Like your mystery girl. Come on, A, after the alien, is there really anyone you couldn’t bring home?”
“You know, you’re not making it any easier on yourself, stalling like this. Dish, A.”
She sighed , turning her back to him and packing up her bag for work. “She’s not a lover. She’s a friend, mostly. I’m not even sure she likes girls.”
“I’ve never known you to spend this much time alone with a ‘friend’ who wasn’t someone you could bring home for beers,” he complained.
“Yeah, well…” She sighed. “We’ve got a thing, but it’s kind of fragile. I tell you what, I promise I’ll bring her home as soon as I think it won’t blow up in my face, okay?”
“I’ll take what I can get, I guess. Go on, you’ll be late for your date.”
“It’s not…” but he was already out the door. “…quite like that,” she told his departing back.”
“I was beginning to worry,” Heather commented.
“Sorry, my roommates were getting on my case. They want to meet you.”
“Your roommates?” Heather shrugged into her vest and straightened her sleeves. “Is that the incubus you were telling me about?”
“Nah, Javari moved out. So mostly just garden-variety freaks.” She grabbed her uniform from the shelf. “They think we’re dating.”
“You don’t want to tell them the truth?”
Putting on the leather pants and tight-fitting armored shirt still felt like wearing someone else’s clothes. In a sense, she was, she mused, as she pinned her short hair up under the hood that masked her features, leaving only her eyes visible. Ascha stayed at home. The Bronze Sword went out – and the Midnight Maiden.
“Do you think they’d believe the truth?”
Heather – no, the Maiden – settled her weapons into their sheathes and checked her veil. “I don’t know. Some people would probably rather we were risking our lives fighting crime together than snogging in the back seat.”
“Some people, probably,” the Sword agreed. “Mine flip out about a paper cut.” She stepped into the elevator with her partner. Someday soon, maybe, they’d have a proper fortress, but this did for the time being.
“My family would flip more about the snogging,” the Maiden admitted, so quietly that she was nearly drowned out by the creaking of the ancient lift.
“Well,” the Sword offered, before Ascha could shut her mouth, “perhaps there’s more than crime to fight tonight, then.”
She resisted the urge to slap her hand over her mouth as Heather turned slowly to look at her. It would only make it worse.
“Perhaps,” the Maiden murmured, in her moonlight and whisky voice.
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