400-word drabble for rayemars. Requirements: Rishid and Isis, not necessarily a pairing, a title, and a line.

The line is the only thing in quotation marks. The pairing is hinted at because I think it's nifty.

It was difficult not making this into a deathfic, and once I figured out how to do that it was difficult to write it all out, and really damn difficult to end it. So I know it's really abrupt. Sorry.

Dusty Things

Shirts that would be better suited as rags. Treasure trolls with scratched faces.

Rishid continued browsing the selection of goods at the yard sale. Nothing yet had caught his eye – there was nothing new enough to get for Malik, nor anything practical enough for Isis. While there was no occasion, the sale had caught his eye, and who didn't like receiving a gift out of the blue?

An old clarinet in a case that was falling apart. China dishes with accumulated dust that couldn't be brushed off with fingers alone.

The paperback books all had wrinkles in their covers, and most had brown-edged and dog-eared pages. He paused at the shelf with the collection, a row cheap romance novels dotted with a couple classics. There was no urge to buy any, but the evidence of use – that those objects had once been appreciated – was the reason Rishid found himself staring at them. They had been wanted once, but no doubt were now replaced. Their last usage would be to get some cash compensation.

None of the jewelry was anything Malik would want, and the designs were too flashy for Isis.

He picked one of the books up and flipped through it, turning through water-stained paper until he stopped in the middle. For a moment his eyes focused on the paper and the incoherent marks became letters and words. "Lives come and go like grains upon Egypt's great sands," and then a group of pages slipped from beneath his thumb and the passage was lost. He shut the book calmly but held onto it.

He'd gone through all the tables in the sale, and he was sure the woman selling her wares was still watching him warily. His bald head and scarred face, he'd learned, tended to draw unpleasant attention.

Of course he was afraid of replacement. What use was he now? What skills did he have for the metal and electric world they found themselves in? He'd found a job in construction once, but that project was over and he was again extra weight for Isis to support.

What stood out about him now that Isis had all the men in the world to choose from? There were educated men with fewer scars and more backbone. He wasn't blind; he'd figured out the difference between a construction worker and a computer technician.

He bought the book for himself and left.

[la fin]

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