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Stratos Caelus ([personal profile] auspex_caelo) wrote2016-01-16 02:51 pm
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Invitations to Dance

“Your bounty hunter wants me to tell you she’s dangerous.”

Stratos didn’t look up from his notes. “Yes?”

“Which she is, you know.” Felix strolled further into the tent and found a chest of books to lean back against. Stratos could see him gesturing dramatically as he glanced up, though his attention was on the lupine shadow prowling by the tent flap. “Fiendishly dangerous. Ludicrously dangerous.”

Stratos nodded and kept writing. He reached the end of a long paragraph on wisp sightings, and Felix hadn't moved. The tribune paused, then set the quill aside and leaned back in his chair, eye-to-eye with his brother at last. “How dangerous?”

“Pelinal Whitestrake.” Simple. Intense. Entirely serious, in a way Felix rarely deigned to be.

“Mmm. This is less surprising than you both appear to think.”

Felix rolled his eyes. “Well, naturally. I know and you know that you suspect everyone you meet in the Nexus of being Mehrunes Dagon in disguise…”

“Need I remind you that I saw an Oblivion gate?”

“…But the difference here is that I agree she’s dangerous. And unlike some people, I know better than to lose my head simply because I find myself speaking with a fell Prince of the Oblivion planes.”

“Speaking of which, you must-” His tone was mild, and Felix cut him off sharply.

Stop pretending not to listen." His little brother was glaring at him in a flash of honest-to-Stendarr temper.

Stratos blinked, taken aback and almost protesting. Reluctantly he left off the game. “…Ah. She told you directly to pass this information on?”

Felix controlled himself, feathers still obviously ruffled. Anger had never suited him well. As usual, he tried to shrug his way out of it. “Well, first she wanted to know if I’d tell you of my own accord.”

“And?”

“I claimed ambivalence; I won't guess what impression she took. She didn’t seem over-pleased that I wasn’t hopping to warn you, if that’s of any use.”

“Hm.” Stratos folded his hands and drew a slow breath, looking into space over his drying notes. Worry about Felix later. For now he needed to focus his attention elsewhere. For a few minutes he was silent, vaguely aware and yet undisturbed that Felix was watching him intently. When he moved, he shuffled the papers in front of him to get a clean sheet, and began to write again. “Deliver this invitation to the Hunter as soon as possible.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Because you like her boots?”

He'd earned that one: tolerate it, but give him the satisfaction of a grimace. “Because I think she may be worth a little trust."

Felix raised his eyebrows. “You’re not worried she might secretly be Boethiah? She really could, I think.”

“No,” he said with perfect certainty. “Because you would know, and you would have warned me.” And believe it or not, little brother, I trust you and your wits more than I can afford to say.

There was a moment before Felix said with quiet reproach, “Cheating.”

“Regrettably,” Stratos agreed, “I am.”