The V's Have It
(KingKiller Chronicles fanfiction) by... "MS"
Warning: To those of you who squick easily... this may not be for you. In the later chapters, anyway.
Chapter One - Blood And Rain
"How can I TEHLU ANYWAY."
This disjointed sentence was the first thing out of Devi's mouth when she yanked open her door, the initial greeting dying on her pouty lips in favor of a curse when she took in the state of her customer. Who, to be succinct, was me.
"Evening, M'lady. I take it you're willing to make donations to the church?"
"Get inside," she hissed, small hand lashing out and snatching me up and into her bedroom-that-doubled-as-an-office.
"If you insist," I quipped; it was a bit late for me not to.
"Blackened death, you're dripping all over my floor," she growled, pixielike features a mask of outrage. "You had to get yourself whipped bloody and THEN come over here in the rain, didn't you?"
"How else am I supposed to impress you?"
In a matter of seconds she had me undressed and washing up. I was impressed that her cubbyhole happened to have its own bath; I'd always assumed she popped downstairs to the butcher shop.
"Now then," she said from the other side of the door. "Care to tell a lady what you've been up to?"
"Not really, but I don't suppose that's very practical as you've already drawn me the bath, eh?"
"You dimwit." There was a twinge of amusement lurking beneath her exasperation, but she wasn't about to let me play with it any. "This is likely about money?"
"No, it isn't. Or it is, as everything is in one way or another."
"My patience wears thin."
I lingered over drying off my cuts, giving myself an excuse to try and find a polite, less-sickening way of phrasing it. And I failed, so then I barreled ahead, "I'm expelled."
"Finally," she sighed with mock relief. "My bile has been churning over when it might at long last happen."
"It's not funny."
"No, it isn't. But you'll forgive me if I don't feel all that sorry for you, as I've been through much the same." We were both silent for a moment before she asked, "So... how'd you manage it?"
"Trying to pay you back. They caught me sneaking into the Archives. Took my specially-designed sympathy lamp, too; Master Kilvin is probably the most disappointed out of all of them."
"But you did find a way in?"
"Sure. Too bad they'll have bricked it up by the time we could take another crack at it."
She sighed. "Oh, Kvothe... I could've told you not to try it. But then again, I wanted you to succeed, as well. For my own selfish reasons. Ugh, I feel partly responsible now."
"Devi," I sighed as I came around the corner, wearing my only other set of clothing I owned. "It's like this. I'm willing to become your indentured slave for an indeterminate period."
"Really?" Her eyebrows remained hiked for a long moment until she arrived at my point. Then they drew to a focus between her eyes as she folded her twiglike arms. "Oh, no you don't. I'm not going to make it that easy on you."
"There's really no other option, here," I said bitterly.
"So you don't have ANY money?" she gaped. "Any at all, not even a stray copper jot? Tattered fates, Kvothe!"
"Everything was riding on my breaking into the Stacks; I'd be able to complete my studies, and you'd get paid off, and my luck would have turned around. But no, it keeps on turning - like milk in the sun."
"And now you've turned up on my doorstep, begging for handouts," she seethed. "I knew it. I knew I'd never see one thin shim of that money I gave you, you senseless, ignorant-"
"Yes, allright, fine," I snapped. "I'm well aware of how botched this has become. It's why I'm here."
"If you were smart, you'd have already hopped a caravan out of Imre."
That brought a weary smile to my face. "I doubt there's ever been a man whom you were chasing who's evaded you, fair Devi. I don't know what I'm to do, but it seemed wiser to throw myself on your mercy and wait for you to make up your mind."
Devi's hands were clamped down hard on her elbows as she paced back and forth. "Thirty-five talents," she hissed to herself. "THIRTY-FIVE that I'll never see again. I'm a fool. A heedless fool, suckered in by a pretty face."
"If you want to prostitute me, I've no pride left. Anything, as long as I pay my debt. It's all that's left to me without the University... or Denna."
"I don't even want to know what a Denna is at this point." I looked away from her glare, and she sighed. "Have you even got yourself a room?"
"Then you can kip on my floor. On the floor," she told me, laden with iron will. "No bed, not even in my bathing tub. In the morning, you will go directly to the Eolian and start singing for your supper."
I shrugged. "You've got my lute, though."
"Take it. God's body, take it!" Still in its case, it bounced off my head and into my arms, and I hardly flinched. What was one more bruise among dozens? "Probably wouldn't even fetch three jots."
"Maybe three," I joked feebly.
"If you disappear from town, Tehlu help me, I will have your blood in my hands and use it to dowse you so fast your head will spin. Clear?"
"As a bead of dew on midsummer's morn."
"Save your poetry for your lyrics, bard. The next 'Jackass, Jackass' might net you enough to pay the interest on your loan, if nothing else. Put those talent pipes to good use!"
Then she bandaged my cuts, cursing at me all the while, and threw my bloodied clothes into the leftover bathwater to soak. It was a vain hope they would ever be worth wearing again, but I appreciated the notion.
It was somewhat uncomfortable sleeping there, what with a woman being so nearby - remember, whatever misfortune may have fallen onto me, I was still a fifteen-year-old boy - but the ordeal of the day had bred such a fatigue in me that I drifted off despite hearing her breathing, smelling the lavender scent in the room...
To Be Continued
NOTES: Hey, this is just a little something I'm trying out... I know it's not even a very original idea or anything but I couldn't make it leave me alone until I got it down on paper. What do you think?