by D.M. Jewelle
(Just because it’s over doesn’t mean that’s all the chapters I’ve got. ^^)
Sedna ran a finger over the letters engraved on the plaque.
“So…ph…inis..a…Heee…m…p…sal…Master Finnegan, do you think that’s how it’s supposed to be pronounced?” He turned to his master, who was lying along the waiting bench. His arms were folded across his stomach, eyes closed in a fitful rest with an ice pack on his forehead.
“I don’t know, I don’t care,” Finnegan mumbled.
“Shouldn’t you, Master Finnegan?””
“What do you call her?”
Sedna tapped his chin with his right index finger, studying the sign. “She must feel lonely, Master Finnegan.”
“Ju- I- Oh, nevermind,” Finnegan sighed, feeling the slight jab on his temple again. Earlier the velociraptor-lady had tripped over Sedna’s body, which lead to the shocking discovery of a very unconscious God and his assistant occupying the hallway. The other workers were alerted to her frantic calls, and their unfortunate colleague was rushed to the infirmary, where her twisted ankle was taped and was on her way to a speedy recovery.
Finnegan and Sedna, on the other hand, were thrown onto the waiting benches and propped upright. After Finnegan slid sideways for the tenth time, they let him be and resumed their lunch break, shaking their heads. How could one so spineless be someone of immense power, they wondered. Upon Sedna’s discovery that Finnegan was running quite the temperature, he harassed the office for an ice pack by singing “It’s A Small World” at the top of his lungs repeatedly. As a promise to never sing that blasted brain-snatching, hair-pulling song ever again, they gave him several isotonic drinks from the break room refrigerator to occupy himself with while waiting for the auditor. After all, a person gulping down a dozen cans of anything should have more on their mind than singing.
An hour had passed since.
Sedna blinked. “What?”
“Time, what time. Tiiime.” The ice pack rustled.
Sedna held up Finnegan’s left wrist, looking at the large neon digital numbers on the oversized black watch. “Two-thirty, Master Finnegan.” He gingerly placed the hand back to its previous position.
Finnegan groaned. He really wanted the auditor to come back – if not to settle his damage claim, at least to beat the snot out of her and rip out her stupid cornrows for taking such a long lunch break. Not even Lower Senate Gods were allowed to take breaks longer than an hour, and here was this…accountant…person…thing…whom he’d been waiting for the past hour and a half.
Her lunch had better be good.
Sedna picked the last unopened can from the side table and pulled the tab. He waited for the loud hiss to fade before bringing the can to his lips. A photo of a large, bald, shirtless, musclebound man praying with his clasped hands pointing upwards along with his entire upper body brought Sedna’s attention to the photo-laden bulletin board.
“Master Finnegan, isn’t this Bathista?”
“The Prayer Bead God, Laboratory P4-11, always takes up two seats in the cafeteria saying the other seat is reserved for the holy spirits of prayer that dine with him?”
“You know, the guy whose foot you stepped on and then he waved his prayer beads at you saying the spirits will get mad and then nearly killed you when your neck got tangled up in the beads-”
“-Sedna, I’m trying to sleep. Can you shut up for five minutes?” The ice pack slid over Finnegan’s eyebrows when he frowned. Having to answer his assistant’s inane questions was making his mouth dry. His tongue felt like giant wads of cotton, and his teeth were made of lead. The pulsating throb in his head returned with a vengeance, and despite closing his eyes, it was scant defense against the glare of the fluorescent lighting over him. Thankfully the cushioned benches were comfortable, so his resolve to wait didn’t die out completely.
Sedna tiptoed toward Finnegan’s prone body, sliding the can onto the side table with his pinky finger under the can so that it wouldn’t make too much noise. Kneeling beside the bench, Sedna took a closer look at Finnegan’s sleeping form.
For one who claimed to have spent his childhood in a military academy, Finnegan hardly had the build for it; Sedna had tried stuffing his master with all manner of food, but weight and Finnegan were much like water and oil. The watch loosely strapped around Finnegan’s left wrist (he often wore it as tight as possible to prevent losing it) was proof that Finnegan was really all skin, bones, and an extremely taut layer of muscle in between, and the muscle had skipped the wrist. His pronounced wrist bone usually served as a distraction from his spindly fingers, so thin and flimsy nobody would think them strong enough to hold a pencil, let alone reload a semiautomatic and fire several rounds at anything that dared accost him in a dark cave.
Sedna’s eyes wandered to his master’s sleeping face. Finnegan’s fair complexion turned a deathly white under the lights. The soft rise and fall of his chest assured Sedna that he was still alive. Water droplets from the melting ice pack dripped onto Finnegan’s black hair, thick fringes clinging to his face that he had not bothered to brush away. Finnegan’s lips were a shade paler than usual, lightly puckered with a shimmering gloss that was fast drying. Surely his master’s throat was parched, but he hadn’t heard orders for a drink. Sedna had no wish to rouse his master, surely there had to be a way to let him drink some of the beverage without any fuss; a way where he would take a swig, approach his master’s lips, parting them ever-so-slightly and…
“-Don’t even think about it, jackass,” Finnegan warned, nary a stir him save for the soft menacing murmur.
Well, so much for that.
Sedna turned away from Finnegan when he saw a lady with cornrows in a cream office jacket push through the heavy glass doors leading into the office.
“Excuse me, miss, do you happen to be the owner of this very unpronounceable name on this door?” Sedna asked, pointing to the door behind him.
“Yes, I am.”
“Ah goody, then you remember my master?” The pair looked at the pale listless figure lying on the bench, hands clasped over his stomach. The lady blinked.
“…sir, this isn’t the morgue..”
“Oh nonono, he’s not dead, it’s just that the stress of finding out I screwed up his damage claims because I forgot to mail his insurance statement to this department last year has just killed him, but not really dead kind of killed, but the stressed kind of killed. I mean, it’s like saying we didn’t have a snow day, but we did have a day of snow-”
“Sedna, just shut up.” Finnegan pulled the ice pack off his face and sat up, blinking rapidly to reacquaint himself with the light.
“Is he your assistant, Mr. Finnegan?”
“I really wish I could say otherwise, but yes, he is.”
“I know you really do have a soft spot for me, Master Finnegan.”
“…I can see how you can hold him responsible for the damage.” The auditor removed a set of keys from her handbag and unlocked the door.