Myself: [opens mouth]
Me: It’s half a scene! Barely a scene! [intelligible sounds, shrieking] Content warning, this is a romance and sometimes characters have sex!
Myself: I was just going say that you forgot the cc for Deacon’s zombie stiches.
Me: Oh. Yeah. I umm…I didn’t realize the file wasn’t in the mods folder. Sorry.
Akira stamped the snow from off his boots as he stepped inside the cabin. The mirror portal spat them out in the lodge bathroom, but they still had to trek through the woods for five miles before they got to their cabin. Even as he knew the snowstorm would cover their tracks, he took to the trees every mile, doubling back to make sure.
“A-are y-you s-s-sure that’s enough?” Miko asked, teeth chattering as he set down a cordon of wood.
It wasn’t that he didn’t feel cold, he wasn’t a vampire, but winter in the Fae Realm was a brutal affair so he was used to it.
He smirked, “Why? You plannin’ on goin’ out there to get some more?”
She scowled, and he chuckled as he crouched down to build a fire. “I’ll go out and get some more whenever we need it.”
It was hard to know how many days they’d be here. The gnomes hadn’t even agreed to see them, and negotiations with them were long, raucous affairs. He’d need some sort of boon to get their attention. It was always difficult to tell what the little buggers wanted: Coffee? Toys? Expensive electronics?
He shoved the coffee table out of the way and pulled over a padded bench. Miko’s teeth chattered even more violently.
“Take off that jacket and gloves, they’re fuckin’ soaked through,” he coaxed.
She nodded but watched him warily as he stripped his coat off too. Ignoring her look, he swept her into his arms and took a seat on the bench. For a brief moment, she relaxed, bringing a hand to gently cup his face.
He smiled at her, and her cheeks burned.
“Stop it! I’m just cold!” she squeaked. “We should…um…uh…sit back to back.”
He agreed, but only because he was wearing her down. He was going to be his best behaved, most charming self. The fire roared and crackled as Miko inched even closer to him.
“Well, it is some kind of blizzard,” she admitted. “Maybe…maybe we could share the bed. For warmth.”
“Clothes on!” she added after a moment.
“Maybe we could,” Akira agreed, not letting his voice betray any excitement.
“Do you think Mikel and Penny made contact with the dryads? Should we let them know we got here safe?” she wondered, “Not that I wouldn’t be safe with you because we’re um a-acquainted,” she replied quickly.
“Yeah, sure,” he shrugged, continuing to keep his voice light.
It was hard to keep a pleasant look on her face while staring at James. Given the number of times Penny had walked through this lobby with Bjorn, it must be giving the poor man a heart attack to see Bjorn standing there with his wife.
James’s smile was genuine, though. “So nice of you to ask after the children. The kids are great! In fact, we thought they could get together for another playdate. Jenny and I think it does them good to play with someone like Gwendolyn. You know,” he dropped his voice, “Covenless orphan. It reminds the kids to be grateful for what they have.”
Penny tried very hard not to grimace even though the word stung. She knew all about Bjorn’s attitude towards his adopted daughter, but it wasn’t something she could do anything about. She was trying to find missing witches, not look after some kid. Penny had survived being a “covenless orphan,” Gwendolyn would too.
“Oh, Clara, it’s nice to see you,” James simpered. “You never come by the office! What’s the occasion?”
“Who?” Mikel asked, looking around. Penny coughed and discreetly stepped on his foot. “Oh! I mean, yes, Janice…er…James, nice to see you. Do I need an excuse to visit my husband?”
“No, no, not at all, I was just…surprised to see you. I thought you all were taking a family vacation? Bjorn’s calendar says—”
“That’s right,” Penny intervened, “We decided to leave tomorrow…at the last minute. I’m just going to pick up a few items.” She began walking away briskly, pulling Mikel behind her.
“Oh well, in that case, you should know that you already have a—”
“Hold my calls!” Penny snapped and yanked Mikel through the doors.
“You are shit at being covert, which is shocking because your whole fucking deal is being covert!” Penny fumed when they were finally upstairs.
Mikel looked embarrassed. “Sorry, it’s difficult to keep multiple stories going at once. I’ve got to pretend to be a sim and then pretend to be a sim being another sim. It’s confusing!”
“Well, try harder!” Penny commanded. She stiffened and waved at an employee passing by.
“So why?” Mikel asked as they continued walking towards Bjorn’s office.
“Why…keep searching? For your family. It’s been years. Don’t you think they’re…” Mikel didn’t finish the sentence, but Penny knew the word he was looking for.
“It’s not about them,” Penny revealed, surprising herself with how candid she was willing to be, “I mean it is, but not because I think I can save them. I’m sure they’re dead. I just know something is seriously wrong. Witches have gone missing for centuries, and there’s an entire system saying it’s no big deal, and worse, you shouldn’t even risk asking questions because it could happen to you. Meanwhile, someone is benefitting from all that power.”
“Like the Great Sixam Games,” Mikel muttered.
“Nothing,” he said with a shake of his head. “I’m sorry I brought that up about your family. I…I get it.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Penny assured him as they turned the corner. “I brought you into this shit. You have a right to ask—” she snapped her mouth shut.
Of course, Simeon Silversweater was waiting outside of Bjorn’s office. Of. Fucking. Course.