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This is a concept that mulled around in my head for a bit, but then I finally got some free time to put it together. It'll be a series of Wayne-and-Steris vignettes. Enjoy.

Frigid, Part I: Masque

Wayne swung open the old oak doors and stepped into Wax's study. Lingering for a moment in the doorway, the scent of dust, metal shavings, book-cover leather, and single-malt whiskey made its way to his usually unhelpful nose. He inhaled and savored in the familiar aroma, closing his eyes and smiling to himself. It was a smell of friendship, kinship, and the shared bond of people who had gone through everything together. And of Wax's odd habits. 

He opened his eyes and stepped into the room. The usual surroundings unfolded in the lantern light. Wax had said something about not wanting to install electrics, the reason for which had shifted from "They're so unreliable" to "Maybe some other time" to "After the wedding" to "There's no point, they're already installed in the tower."

Wayne did a circuit around the room to turn off the lights, walking from the bookshelf to the liquor cabinet. He turned to the desk, and saw in the faint light a figure in a mask, an apron, and some very threatening leather gloves, holding a test tube in some clamps over a small burner plate.

Wayne cursed softly and reached for his duelling canes, but then paused and blinked at the figure. It didn't seem to notice him. Shuffling towards the figure, He began to fill his goldminds. He coughed softly. 

The figure did not respond. 

"Ruination," he said aloud. The figure looked up and tilted its head.

"Wayne?" A familiar, if muffled voice came from behind the mask. Wayne thought he knew the voice faintly, and then it struck him. 

"'Ello, Crazy." 

"Hello, Idiot." 

"Loving the new look. I've heard the 'husband's welding mask' thing is all the rage in Bilming. Or did you and Allik go down the prom on a day out?"

"I don't have time for your... usual nonsense today, Wayne. As you can see, Lord Waxillium has tasked me with-" Wayne stopped listening. He didn't even have to do the usual responses of "mhm" and "yup", or even nod, as she wouldn't notice anyhow. He glanced towards the burner plate. How, he wondered, is she not melting? He chided himself. Even though she was who she was, Wax loved her. And, being the best friend that git Wax ever had, Wayne figured he should respect his choices. No matter how... frigid. He began wandering around the room. He was in the middle of fairly swapping a few pens from the cabinet for a string of pink ribbon and some crackers from his pocket when a thunderous cracking noise came from across the room. Wayne threw a speed bubble up, reflexively flaring his bendalloy. After looking around and seeing no gun-toting bandits or insufferable brown-suited shapeshifters, he dropped the bubble. He always got a bit jumpy when storing health. 

"Preservation's Wings, woman!" 

"What?!" A soft but frantic voice piped up. "Wayne, what is it?!" 

"What is it? You just scared me 'alf to death with your gunshot allergies!"

"Oh, dear. It must be the dust in this mask. I'm sorry for startling you."  Wayne recoiled. Sorry

"It's, ah... it's fine. I'm 'boutta run down to the kitchens, see what I can nab, er, find." He paused, then spoke again. "You, uh, want anything?" 

"I could do with a baywrap, if there are any left over from tea. Thank you, Wayne."  He managed a soft "Yeah," then slowly walked out of the room and down the stairs. Thank you? This was new for Steris. Probably the wedding, he thought, putting her in a better mood for a while. She'd be back to normal in... a few days, at most. 

As he was making his way down the stairs, Wayne realized: Steris hadn't even told him, in that pedantic and killjoy voice, not to steal anything.

And for once, he didn't feel like it, anyhow

Edited by bleeder

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I like your description. I really appreciated the frase "book-cover leather" and your reference to Wayne's habit of saying that he has no sense of smell. Have an upvote!


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