Monday, January 7, 2008

An Unevenly Matched Couple #5

"You're not going to make this easy for me, are you?" She asked at last, when her tongue finally recovered from the earlier abuse.

"No." He said simply, sipping the steaming brew.

Eira blew on the surface of the cup. "Why?"

He perked a brow.

She sighed. "okay fine. Um, let's see."

Silence reigned for another moment or two and then he smiled.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

An Unevenly Matched Couple, Part 4

Eira's scrambling was nearly in vain for the Dark Phoenix halted his warp just barely enough for her to scoot through.

She tumbled out on the floor, her bag flying to the nearest wall and her feet slipping out from under her.

Perfect brown boots stepped around and over her sprawled figure to set the sack of groceries on a counter.

Eira rolled over and up to her feet, rubbing her neck. It felt as if she'd just snapped the spring inside. She was inside a kitchen. Small, neat and extremely well organized.

A gloved hand was offered to her and she took it, gingerly.

"Slow warp?" Her rescuer inquired, returning to the kitchen counter and painstakingly unpacking each item, lining them up in a row.

Sharp pains radiated through her shoulders. Eira grimaced. "It seemed pretty fast to me."

His gaze flickered breifly over her and then he assumed a more relaxed expression. "A slow warp means it is one that is extremely fast. So fast, it seems slow, correct?"

Eira made a fist with one hand and positioned it to the left of her throat. She tapped it gently with her other finger to release a spiral of healing energy. With the fading pain, her wit slowly gathered itself around her. "Fast can't be slow."

"On the contrary. Slow can be fast." He folded the sack and hung it on a hook near the entry way. "Things are never what they seem when it comes to energy warps." He pointed towards a door and then snapped his fingers. "The refresher is there. You may want to freshen up." Her bag and belongings picked themselves off the floor and repacked themselves neatly inside each other before gliding across the room to land in her lap. "Dinner will be stew and bread." His back turned to her as he began to pack the items from the counter in the cupboard.

Eira felt her eyelids drooping as she forced herself to stand up and move towards the refresher. Now her head was spinning something awful, in perfect tandem with her roaring stomach. She muffled the moan in her shoulder as the door slid shut behind her.

She was a few minutes too late to help herself and promptly threw up in the following minutes. By the time she'd managed to pull herself together, it was with a burning throat and a dizzy head.

A shower was beginning to seem quite good at that point, but being in a strange place, in a strange home, with a strange fellow, Eira decided against it.

When she finally stepped out of the refresher, a lovely aroma filled the air, causing her stomach to begin a happy dance.

He glanced up again, the moment she stepped out and she was vaguely aware of a little prickling sensation that washed over her as his gaze swept her from head to toe.

He was still in the kitchen, standing near the table, kneading something in a bowl. He'd rolled up his shirt sleeves and was energetically putting his efforts into the project. Nodding towards a chair he paused long enough to push it out with one foot. "Better?"

She slid into the chair and nodded. Sitting was better than standing, of course, but he was still standing.

"I meant your stomach." He shifted the bowl from the tabletop to the floor and knealt to finish his work.

Her cheeks tinged with a sliver of warmth. "Fine."

"The bread will be a few minutes." He murmured, standing up and carrying the bowl to the counter where he proceeded to section and round the dough off into nice, big rolls. The rolls were then placed on a pan and put in the oven.

A sleek black box with a large hole, the size of a hand near the top. To Eira's surprise, he simply made a fist, blew on it and stuck it in the hole.

There was the sound of a mild explosion, followed by stray wisps of smoke as he withdrew his hand and headed to the sink to wash the bowl.

Moments later, he checked the stew, stiring it and tasting it with a separate spoon. His mouth quirked into a smile afterwards and then he nodded, redirecting his attention towards her.

Dishes were brought out and filled. The steaming goodness set before her with two large rolls on the side.

She closed her eyes to inhale the warm scent. For once, her stomach could rumble all it wanted and she'd be happy to fill it.

Waiting a few seconds was almost more than she could bear, but her host did not take long to join her once the stew was safely covered the rolls in a basket in the middle where both sides could reach them.

He bowed his head and his lips moved silently for a moment. Then, his eyes opened, he smiled and picked up his spoon.

Eira blinked. "What was that?"

"My thanks." He said simply, turning his attention towards the stove and pointing his finger, beckoned.

A little ceramic pot hovered up and to the table, stopping just near the bread basket. Opening the top, he spooned something over his roll and then proceeded to consume it.

"Thanks for what?" Eira took a cautious mouthful, glad to find the stew hot, but not scalding.

"I would be a most horrible ingrate if I did not think my food was worthy of giving thanks." He pushed the little dish towards her. "Do you not do the same? Try this. It is herbed oil for the rolls. The herbs are good for the heart and lungs."

Eira stored the information away for later use and tried the herbed oil, pleased to find that tasted as good as it smelled.

The rest of the meal was silent, except for the sounds of spoons clinking against the bowl or a quiet slurp every now and then.

When dinner was over, her host repeated the offer that she could stay for the night as he did the dishes, instructing her to retire to the open room that he would bring some tea.

Eira settled into a comfy seat near a window, staring out in the darkened outdoors. It was windy enough to feel wisps of coolness seeping in through the windowsill.

Her host appeared with a tray bearing a steaming pitcher and two mugs. "Cream or Sugar?"

"Uh, yes?" Eira watched as he spooned out exact measurements in both cups before handing over the one nearest to her. "Thank you."

"You are welcome." He seated himself on the louge chair opposite of her.

"Nice place you have here." Eira sipped the brew only to burn her tongue. A quick glance at him showed that he was merely holding his cup. His eyes laughed.

"Thank you."

She tried another tack. "Do you always talk this much?"

He shrugged. "Usually."

"Right." Her face flushed as she stared down into the steaming cup.