Nik reported to the infirmary like the dutiful man that he was.

Also, he’d known Ambrosine since they were young and she could read him like an open book, so there was no point in trying to be sly. Besides, he enjoyed not hurting.

Her eyebrows winged up slightly as he graced her doorway–er, massive opening in the wall? The Gilded Hollow was sure…something–and she rose from her desk. “Niklas,” she said, shaking her head slightly. “Wasn’t expecting you to show up covered in blood, my friend.”

“I strive to surprise and delight at every turn,” he said, giving her a stiff and awkward bow that ended with his gasping. 

“Oh stop that you idiot. Come here.” She pulled out another chair for him by the fire that burned low behind her desk, and began systematically stripping off his Priory robes.

“You’ve gotten more efficient,” he noted, which resulted in her leveling him with a Look of such ferociousness that he was reminded of his mother.

(They had met as two very bored and _lonely_ teenagers, it was important to note.)

“I promise you I’m not this efficient when I’m doing it for fun,” she said with a soft huff of laughter.

“No wonder people hesitate to come here if you glare at them all that way.”

“I reserve my true glares for friends who know how full of shit I am. Who’s avoiding getting proper care this time?”

“Gal.”

“Typical. I’ll track her down before she does permanent damage to those ribs.”

“Try to not scowl.”

“I won’t, but I will sure be sighing internally. Much as I do every time you come to me, I might add. How much of this is your own doing?”

“Enough.” Niklas let his head drop back and his eyes close. Whatever she was cleaning his wounds with stung, but her hands were strong and steady and nothing hurt more than it needed to.

“Why did you have to get into a flavor of necromancy that involved inflicting damage on yourself even as you hurt the enemy?”

“It’s fine at the time, as long as I have life energy to siphon off.”

“And when the battle is done?”

“Then it sucks, but at least I’m alive for it to feel terrible and they’re not.”

“Kormir’s knickers, Nik. Look, I’m going to have to stitch some of these, so let’s move you to a bed.”

“Light on the magic tonight, Ambro?”

“I’ve been busy,” she said grimly. “So I’m doing as much as possible the hard way.” She helped him over to a bed, and fetched her needle and thread, as well as a vial that she pressed into his hand. “Or the alchemical way. Here.”

“What’s this?”

“Something Jess whipped up. It’ll help you recover faster.” Ambrosine wiped down the worst of his injuries with another of her wife’s creations: a numbing cream. “You can have one of the more fun versions in the form of Luuk’s brews later if you want.”

He drank the potion and grimaced. Jess had decided it needed to be aggressively cherry flavored, apparently. “You know, I almost wish that I had an excuse to let alcohol affect me like normal. Maybe then I’d flirt awkwardly with that cute fellow necromancer.”

Ambrosine had to stop a moment. There were, after all, any number of necromancers, and several of them were good looking by various standards, and with Niklas she couldn’t even limit her guesses by gender. “…Jin?” She hazarded a guess. Cute was not a term she’d apply to, say, Fiel. 

(“Broodingly handsome,” is what Tove said. “Emphasis on the brooding.”)

Nik made a noncommittal noise as Ambrosine began stitching, which she took to mean yes. 

“You could flirt awkwardly while sober, you know.”

“The courage is lacking,” he murmured. It was strange to feel the gentle tug of skin being pulled together and little else. 

“She’s got a healing knack herself, you know. You could just approach her next time you need help,” Ambrosine said with a smirk as she knotted the tread off and gave Nik another look over. “Pretend that you’re also afraid of my wrath.”

“I’m a terrible liar.”

“I could make you afraid.”

Niklas laughed, then grimaced. “…ow.”

“I’m not done yet, idiot,” she said affectionately. Once all the surface injuries were seen to, she spread her hands across his chest, and soon they warmed dramatically.

He idly traced the magic as it coursed through his body, finding the internal damage and speeding the healing on its way. 

“That should be enough to get you back to field duty in days rather than weeks. I’ll give you more of those potions. Get plenty of sleep, eat plenty of food, go swim in some salt water if you’re so inclined. Use what healing you know yourself to speed things along.”

“I’m sure Widow Ann will be happy to stuff me full of food if I ask it of her.”

“Still living in her spare room?”

“Still cheaper than having my own apartment, so yes. Besides, I can’t be sure that whoever takes my place after I leave will do all of her heavy lifting and jar opening. Someone has to keep an eye on her.”

Ambrosine, who knew that Widow Ann kept an eye on Niklas as much as he kept an eye on her, smiled. She carefully folded Nik’s abused robe and handed it back to him. “Go home and sleep until tomorrow,” she said, pressing a packet of vials into his hand at the same time.

“Plan on it,” Nik replied, sketching a smoother bow this time. “Later, Ambro.”

“Hopefully with less blood next time, Nik.”

“No promises.”

Author Ambrosine
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Comments (1)

  • jander
    September 2, 2020 at 4:24 pm
    oof

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