Funerary Rites 40: Laying Blame

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“Something went wrong.”  The street was abandoned.  Senga still kept her voice low, conversational, looking over at Erramun to direct the sound.  “I don’t think it was us.”

“Was it one of the team?”  Erramun’s tone was as light, maybe lighter, than hers.

“Hey!”  Chitter complained over the comm link.  “We’re better than that.”

“Something went wrong,” Erramun countered.   “That means someone messed up. It wasn’t me.  It wasn’t her.”

“Biased much?” Ezer grumbled into the comm.  “Come on, you both know you could’ve tipped them off.”

“Yeah.  It’s a possibility.  But it didn’t happen.”  Senga kept her voice from getting too snappish.  “They were tipped off by something on their comms.  Not by our little distraction act. And then they shot -”  She caught herself. They might still be being listened to.  “They shot at Eddy.”

Ezer had no such problem. “He’s a big boy.  I’m sure Erramun will be fine. Besides, we sent an amateur in-“

“One, he’s not an amateur, don’t be an idiot.”  She wasn’t really succeeding at not being snappish. “Two, you sent him in.  I didn’t want to do this. I mean, he was really darn good, but let’s be clear about who sent whom where, okay?”

“It’s – we’re a team, Senga.  The con worked better with him there anyway, and with people shooting at you – it made sense to have him there.  You’re right. But you can’t deny that someone screwed up. You don’t get shot at when nobody screws up.”

“I got – what about last time? What about the time I ripped my dress, hrrm? We did a post-mortem and nobody screwed up that time, nobody within a group.  We’ll do a post-mortem this time, too – oh, Eddy,” she shifted, as they turned the corner. “I’m feeling a little woozy.” She leaned on his good arm and made a little hacking noise.  

The couple turned away and hurried on quickly as Senga upped the “sick” noises.  Nobody wanted to stick around when someone was losing a whole night out all over the pavement.  It made them nervous – or it made them sick, too, which was even less fun for them and, sometimes, even more fun for Senga.

“We’ll talk about this when you’re safe in the van.  Come on, we’re almost to the extraction point and I don’t see you.”

“Eddy, these shoes are kidding me,” she whined.  “Why did you let me buy them?”

“Because,” Erramun answered, with a bit of an edge to his voice that she hadn’t heard before, “you were whining then, too.  You wanted those shoes. You picked them out. And if it takes us a little longer to find a taxi because your feet hurt, well, then it takes us a bit longer, because this was your idea.”

If she had really been Susie – if she’d thought he was actually talking to her, she would have been crushed.  As it was, she had to stifle a giggle, because she was sure Ezer was getting an earful. “This was your idea,” indeed.

“But you could carry me,” she whined playfully.

“I could.  And if you don’t behave yourself, I will.  Right over my shoulder. Do you remember how well you liked that last time?”  He glowered at her. For a moment, Senga was worried that he might really pick her up, injured as he was.  She took a step backwards.

“Maybe I ought to call a cab.”

“You two,” Ezer muttered into their ears, “you can stop this any time now, you know.  Nobody’s watching.”

“You are,” Erramun murmured back very quietly.

“Well, I don’t need to hear the two of you mock-bicker. It’s ridiculous.”

“Then maybe you should shut up and stop placing blame.”  Erramun’s tone was quiet; nobody not listening to the comms could have heard him.  Nothing showed on his face.

Senga was still suddenly reminded of exactly how old her fae Bound Servant was and what he’d done before coming to her.

She put a hand on his arm.  “There, Eddy,” she pointed out, in a much less shrill tone, “I think I see our ride.”

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