fairytaleknight: (waking up on a bad day)
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"I need to borrow a wheelbarrow," says Fakir, from the open doorway of the smith's house. (Actually, Fakir's leaning against the doorjamb, trying very hard not to look like he needs the support to keep from falling down.)

Karon, the smith, pulls a horseshoe out of the fire, drenches it in water and looks up. "You could start by saying hello, you know. You could even explain why you have bandages covering both arms. That's all you're going to say? You need to borrow a wheelbarrow?"

Fakir bends his head. Mistake; it's too hard to raise it again. I'm not going to be able to dance today. Or fight.

...It could be worse.


"And a shovel," Fakir adds, before mumbling, under his breath, "Please."

Karon examines the horseshoe pointedly, as he sets it down on his workbench. "I'm glad to hear that you have some social graces. Somewhere. What are you going to do with the wheelbarrow and the shovel? You can't even stand up straight."

"Of course I can." Fakir proves his assertion by straightening his spine in the approved Mr. Cat manner. (It hurts.) "I just want to get --" He can't find a word to finish the sentence. "I just want to take care of something."

Karon pulls off his work gloves and wipes his face with an old towel. "I won't let you take the wheelbarrow. Or the shovel. Unless you tell me what's going on."

Fakir closes his eyes, leaning back against the wall. "I... later. Everything's all right, I promise. Really. Almost everything. But... later."

Karon's voice, when he replies, is very dry. "I'm reassured. But you won't be taking the wheelbarrow."

Fakir swallows, and says again, "Please."

Karon stands up creakily, lifting a shovel from beside the fireplace and setting it inside the wheelbarrow next to his work gloves. "I will be taking the wheelbarrow. And the shovel. Just show me where we're going."

Fakir takes a breath. "All right," he says, and leads the way.

~~~

Their destination is a pile of ash, charcoal and twisted wires and gears, in the middle of a cobblestoned plaza. Under the morning sunlight, the pile looks pathetically small. I'm sorry, thinks Fakir. I didn't ask you for this.

"Her name was Edel," Fakir says aloud, almost against his will. "I can't leave her here."

Karon nods once, lifting the shovel. He's about to begin lifting the ash when Fakir says, "...Can you rebuild her?"

Fakir bites his lip, looking at the pile. "I was going to bury her. But she's a puppet. She was a puppet, I mean. Someone made her. Couldn't you make her again?"

Karon sets the shovel down and kneels beside the pile of ash, sorting through it with gloved hands. "There's some good wood here. I'll have to cut it away, it'll be smaller, of course. The wires can be straightened. That's not a problem. The gears aren't damaged. Was she painted? Paint would cover over some of the soot."

"Yes," Fakir whispers. "Yes, she was painted. Would you?"

Karon begins shoveling the charcoal into the wheelbarrow. "I can't make her the same. And I can't make her live.
But I'll do my best. You still haven't told me why you care."

Fakir shakes his head, trying to ignore the dizziness, and watches his foster-father handle the ashes. Neither Fakir nor Karon says another word until they return to the smithy.

Karon clears off his workbench and begins to whittle away at a piece of charcoal. Fakir turns to leave. (Mr. Cat will be wondering where Fakir is. So will ... well, Mytho might not care.)

"She died for me," Fakir says from the doorway, as he walks out of the house. The lines deepen in Karon's face, but he only nods and continues to whittle.

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Fakir

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