First: Spoils of War I: Surrender
PLEASE NOTE: I WENT BACK TO THE END OF CHAPTER 21 AND AM REWRITING FROM THAT POINT.
Nikol was making a mess of this suggestion, as much of a suggestion as it was. She glanced at Aran as she trailed off. He was… smiling.
He actually laughed. She paused, thinking about punching him, but he ended with a little snort that didn’t sound mean. “Hey, hey, I’m just amused because you’re as bad at this as anyone else and it’s kind of a relief. I mean, how did you do it with your mercenaries?”
“Mostly, uh. Mostly ‘tent’s right there.'” She made a light gesture, pointing to a tent that wasn’t there.
“Well, ah. ‘Bed’s right there.'” He gestured upwards. “But first there’s a shower we both need to have. And,” he chuckled again, “might be best if I stay near you to make sure you don’t fall down, yeah?”
“Something like that,” she agreed, smiling. “You don’t want me to hit my head; dead gods alone know how long it would take me to recover from that. And I really do like having someone wash my back…”
“Well, then. Let’s do that.” He eyed her again. “You could just – tell me.”
“Yeah, well, that would be pretty shitty. ‘Don’t run away’ is one thing. ‘Take your clothes off’ is getting into another.”
“You mean these things have rules within the rules?” He scoffed a little as he supported her with one arm and opened the door with the other hand.
“I mean I have rules!” she snapped. “I have rules, and among those rules is an iron-clad list of things I do not do and that is one of them!”
He was silent as he helped her inside, as he closed the door and as he locked it carefully. She made her way three shaky steps towards the stairs and then another one before he caught up to her and wrapped an arm around her waist. “Ah.” His voice was very very soft. “Those kind of rules.”Want more?
Short chapter, but this is where it wanted to end.