Title: I Am Also A Very Good Storyteller
Characters: Vlad, Loiosh
Summary: Loiosh fails to shut up.

Notes: written for the theme 'you silver-tongued, unreliable narrator' at the livejournal community 31_days.


I waited for a moment before asking the question I'd been dying to ask ever since the stupid deal had been concluded.

"Boss, do you know how much trouble you're going to be in?"

Of course, Vlad wasn't listening to me. It fit with the way of the world. It also fit with our current position. I shifted my grip on his shoulder, kept my wings from colliding with his head, and didn't try to avoid hurting him with my talons. He was used to it.

I couldn't begrudge him for paying more attentions to our surroundings than to me, given that we were in the middle of an Organization lurk-out, but you'd have thought that after all these years, he'd have learned to rely on my skills a little more faithfully.

It was my job to be on guard. It was his to make sure we got what we came for.

At one time, I'd have let him half-pray to his demon goddess, try and convince himself it'd be her job to see us out and in one piece, but by now we knew first hand her miracles would end up putting us in a lot more trouble than we'd have fled in the first place.

I let out a mental sigh.

"Boss."

His fingers didn't uncurl from the position I knew would allow him to retrieve a knife from his sleeve in less than a heartbeat.

"Yes, Loiosh?"

Though of course he tried not to show his tension when he spoke to my mind.

It didn't work.

I sometimes wonder how uncaring he thinks his friends to be, to believe they don't see right through most of his attitude. And I could see through even more than they did. I was, after all, his familiar, and had been for more years than Vlad's lifestyle would've led me to hope for.

"How do you think you're going to explain this one to Aliera? Or Sethra, for that matter?"

He was silent for a moment. I wasn't sure if it was because he wasn't up to our usual banter or because he was actually considering the question.

If a reptile could smile sadistically, I would have.

"I'll think of something," he finally answered.

"That's brilliant, boss. Like you were going to think of something to stop Herth's guard from getting a message to the Left Hand? I can see how that'll work."

Another silence, during which he probably cursed me for being both right and insufferable about it.

"I'll tell them my familiar didn't make enough of a case of my dropping the chase."

Notice he didn't argue that he had no way of knowing Herth would be involved. Well, not that it'd be a senseless argument; we honestly had no way of knowing. If we had, I like to tell myself that Vlad would've been less eager to throw himself in the Organization's den, but I'm not much good at lying to myself either. At best he'd have been a little more cautious and a lot more ruthless. Don't tell him I said that.

But he didn't because he must've known it would gain him nothing except for another rain of sarcasm. Which just goes to show how much of a shame it is that his common sense is restricted to so compartmentalized issues.

I took the retort with as much graciousness as I could bring myself to gather. It's part of my job to shoulder Vlad's stressed-out attempts at regaining his cool. Or at being cool.

"Oh? So no mention of that minstrel girl, then?"

"Not one," he confirmed.

Then he slid out of our hiding place and set out to sliding the throat of the Organization thugs that blocked his access to the Left Hand envoy that'd just come out of Herth's office while I helped him by plunging for their eyes.

And that, Cawti, is the whole story of how he got himself captured when he was just supposed to meet with Mario in the middle of nowhere. Don't you agree that my version is a lot more fun than Vlad's would've been?