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two snips featuring a'kaschei. first is fen and v, the second is stone, fen and v.


The planks were slippery and the entire hull tipped a bit sword-wise. He reached over to touch the mast when he reached it, laid a palm on it, first thinking it was in case he lost his footing, then blinking in sudden recognition of his body's true motive--he had an odd, disorienting moment wherein he felt the vibrations of a dragon trapped and wounded and half-asleep. It was with a certain sense of urgency that he strode on to the dragon's head, and stared at all the abidha worked into her crest and the poll of her neck, half-disguised and half-displayed as decoration. He raised two fingers to touch, to trace the lines that would bring wake her, and then faltered in mid-gesture, all the hairs raised on his neck, and his lip curled, baring teeth. He stood much too easy on this ship.

"So pretty, tá?" Vasilii asked, his fingers trailing lightly along the topmost strake. "I wonder if we could get her flying again?"

And Fen didn't dare answer one thing, and he was afraid to ask another, did and did not wish to understand what his body so clearly remembered and his mind did not--afraid, tá, and unashamedly so, when Vasilii was white-blond and pale-skinned as winter come, and his eyes flashed like mirrors, and he had carrion-crows weaver-worked into the death-blue of his tunic.

Fen waited, with newborn fear fluttering and clawing at his mind and in his gut, trying to think. He'd thought Vasya had wanted to hunt, and he was always pleased to join him; clearly he had something else on his mind, but it was still unlikely that harm was intended, nil hea? Gods, if only there weren't so many flashes of memory showing where this logic had failed, time and time again--this was why, after the bold stab at reason, his throat was still painfully tight and his voice still held a forced rasp in it when he asked, "Why did you bring me here?"

Vasilii was Vasilisa again, shaking her hair long, though still winter-white and blue-lipped smiling, the tunic now a hooded, death-hued dress trimmed with feathers. She was closer also, tá, much closer, leaning into him contentedly, trailing fingers along his arm instead of the dragon's wooden scales. "One of my monsters found her and I thought of you. I thought this might be fun, Volkchov. Aren't you having fun?"

********


Vasilisa was watching herself in the mirror, turning one way then the other, her skirts rippling and ever-changing in design, an endless parade to flatter the ever-shifting shades of skin, eyes and hair.

"You keep starin' at yourself in that mirror like that, babe, you're gonna get stuck in it." Those old Gaian silver-backed mirrors were problematic like that. Sadly, they were every bit as attractive as they were dangerous; this one was no exception, double full-length with a massive, ornate wooden frame decorated with the careful application of gold leaf, probably dated from around the time he was hanging out in Fredrich's court.

She ignored the unsolicited advice and demanded his opinion instead. "Like this?" She asked, southern flat-raider dark and black hair piled high, her dress a riot of color, "Or this?" A flash to ice-pale and white-blonde, clad in shadow-black and death-blue, "Or this?" A little warmer, honey-gold and light brown, her clothes in white, embroidered with blue and silver, her eyes still shining pale, and then dark, and then light again.

He shrugged without really looking.

"Why do I ask you, you never think anything." She looked past him. "What do you think?"

Fen grinned at her lazily from the window seat; the points of his prominent canines sliding briefly into view and then gone. "You're always beautiful Vasunya, tá? Always and in all your forms, the barest glimpse of ye delights m' heart."

She grinned back, sans fangs but every bit as pointed. "See? This is why you're my favorite pushinka." Then she sighed, looking into the mirror again. "But you are still of no he--."

Stone was still pondering the logistics of creating a metaphysical law that would ban all sickening lovey-dovey crap from any room he happened to be working in, with careful attention to the bit that would keep Fen from being referred to as a cute little fuzzy ball of fluff anywhere within his hearing ever again for any reason, when it occurred to him that the room had gone abruptly silent. He put down his ledger of days, and frowned at the empty space where his wife had been. Then he rolled his chair back across the floor, craning his head back, until he was able to look into the mirror proper, and saw her face looking back at him instead of his own, mildly vexed, and tapping the glass experimentally with a finger.

"I told you." He said. "But you just had to have this damn thing, and now look."

She stopped tapping and looked at him. He gave her a warning look in return, even raised his pen to point, "Don't you even--!" but rolled back across the room even as he spoke, and caught the shield Fen tossed him just in time to ward off the sudden explosion of flying glass. Silver was easy enough to subsume, he'd found, but glass was neither proper earth nor water and it hurt.

"Real swift, babe." He said, glass crunching to powder under his boots, as he walked past some of the larger shards reflecting the ornate ceiling, and squatted down to a hand-sized triangle containing Vasilisa's face--or at least the portion of it that included an unmistakably angry eye, glaring up at him. "I coulda told you that wouldn't work." The angry eye swept away, and there was that same rush of movement in all the other mirror shards as well, leaving them empty. "Um, where are you going? V?"
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