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12 April 2017 @ 09:27 am
Still Fluff  

Circular Karma

Pam Uphoff

1408 yp

This time Rael snuck up on him in the shower.

"That's not fighting fair, Princess."

"Then why are you grinning." Rael peeled off clothes and joined him. "Have I mentioned how much I love your decadent huge shower and endless supply of hot water?"

He soaped her up before he answered. "No . . . don't think you have."

"My father . . . found your house interesting."

"Your house. I was just showing off and got carried away, while helping you remodel it."

"But Dad was a bit disturbed by the absence of a hot water heater, a furnace, or air conditioning."

His teeth flashed.

She giggled. "I showed him the spell, spells, on the windows to heat or cool the air, and keep the bugs out, but I hadn't even thought about the water."

"Hot spells on the pipes, right before the relevant appliance." He dimpled. "That's how we do it, being barbarians, you know."

She snorted. "I told Dad it had to be something like that. All I got was sour looks. I'm afraid my parents don't approve of you."

"Very sensible of them."

There was a long wet interlude before Xen shut off the water and grabbed a towel. To dry her off.

She grabbed one and reciprocated. Leading to a slightly less wet interlude.

And warming up in front of the glowing coals of the fireplace, snuggled up in a big fluffy robe . . . "Can I keep you? I like your lifestyle."

A flash of teeth. "Depends on what Urfa wants, this time."

She giggled into his shoulder. "He was just wondering if you trained the Purple spies who've infiltrated our embassy here."

"Purple spies? Huh. Working for Earth, I presume. Very clever of them. Umm, no, I have not trained any Purps at all let alone specifically to infiltrate the Empire. Surely they didn't send full blown Purps?" Dimples. "With bleached hair?"

She poked him with an elbow. "No, they're Powers, they have the magic genes but not the actual purple hair gene." She leaned back and studied him. "I thought you set up Comet Fall's spy post on Earth?"

"Years ago, and . . . umm, I split off and avoided the rest of the team very early on when I inadvertently brought myself to the attention of the authorities."

She snickered. "What did you do this time?"

"I witnessed a bank robbery. The police decided I needed to be kept in a safe house until they could get the preps to trial. Big criminal organization, apparently."

"You? Trapped in a safe house?"

"Uh huh. They wanted me to stay in the basement. Which was a fully tricked out library and entertainment center. Floor to ceiling shelves of history, politics, biographies . . . really, I barely noticed the lady who owned the house."

"I'd refuse to believe a word of it . . . if I hadn't seen you inadvertently winding up in the confidence of the Presidential Director. Was she pretty? I've had plenty of lessons in being a jealous bitch."

"Fifty-five year old retired drill sergeant. We got on famously, with no romance, or even . . . "

"Oooo! That pause was fraught."

"Well, the criminal syndicate located me. There was a bit of trouble . . . and survivor sex . . . and more trouble, so I faked my death and departed."

"Humph. I'd laugh, if only I hadn't met some kids of yours younger than all your half Oner kids."

"Barely younger." Exasperation in his voice tones. "I was finishing up the 'healing sleep for a year' thing after I left the Empire. Various women took advantage of my dream state . . . In the healing sleep, you sort of come and go, and can't tell dream from reality. I, umm, thought you were dead. I thought I'd just dreamed being summoned through gates to heal you. I also dreamed of having sex with you. Lots." Exasperated sigh. "Seven more kids."

Rael rubbed her chin on his shoulder, thinking. "On top of Nighthawk?"

"And Little Ruff, who's not very little anymore. He's fourteen."

"That's not a witches name."

"No, he's a Mage. His mother was actually a Oner agent. Not that I knew it at the time. Hoon. I think she may have been marooned."

"Hoon, yes, I read about her. Killed in the battle when we invaded."

A snort. "Killed by the commander of the troops. Your officers suicided, but not until they'd pushed the buttons to kill the ordinary soldiers."

Rael paused. Well, I know personally that they are that paranoid. "I thought she had two children."

"Yeah, one of my aunts is raising Mars."

But not this Little Ruff? Are you raising him? You're close enough for a familiar name and no pause to work out how old he is. "And like as not you also have a half Earther child as well."

"Oh . . . good grief. I might as well just give up."

"And how old were you when Nighthawk's mother seduced you?"

"Seduced? Oh my . . . do you know enough of our history to know about the Tyrant Wizards of Scoone?"

She nodded.

"They had their own reproductive Game, involving micro-teleportation of sperm. Ambitious wizard would try to impregnate their better's wives. The highly placed wives—who were also wizards—would have a couple of heirs for their husbands and then steal sperm from more powerful wizards to show their abilities. The Old Gods were favorite targets. They called it birding. In Ash, the witches were very vigilant and after a couple of incidents, the Mages and Witches mutually declared the practice illegal."

"I don't like where this is going."

"Swish, wanting a baby that might precociously grasp power, birded me when I was eleven. Nighthawk was born three days before my twelfth birthday."

"I don't suppose you did something awful to her?"

"That was when I invented the spell to remove power genes. Luckily I didn't use it." Xen grinned. "Although imagining what Answer might have done to me if I had is good for nightmares."

"A spell to remove power genes . . . When you were eleven?"

"It had problems, probably would have killed her. I've got it working well, now."

"You're scary. And here I am, treating you like a perfectly normal boyfriend."

Xen nodded. "I hate to admit that you are the closest to a normal girlfriend and lover I've ever had. But you are. Even with Urfa siccing you on me."

"Oh, bah. He has a pretty good idea of how much he can ask of you. He just hopes I can get a little extra context around what you don't say. Like these Purple spies."

"Hmm, yeah. I kind of hope my fellow King's own Intel buddies did train them. It would be such delightful circularity. Like a snake eating its tail."

She frowned at him.

"No really. Earth's actions on Comet Fall led to Comet Fall developing the permanent gates, which led to us spying on the One, which led to creating Disco, The One used Disco to spy on Earth through Purple, Earth used Purple to spy on the Empire. Comet Fall sticking their toe into the Earth-Purple link would be perfect." He flashed a grin at her. "I know who to ask about it . . . but I'm not going to. No offense, but that might compromise our infiltrators, so, sorry."

Rael giggled. "Oh well. It's about time you turned me down . . . I wonder who'll win the pool?"

"Pool? Did the Presidential guards actually bet on when you would fail to get information out of me?"

"Of course."

Except that I did get some information, even if not what I came for. Report on a lost Dancer . . . And . . . I just gained some very odd insights into your wary attitude toward women.

She snuggled in. Gotta stay long enough that I can honestly say I tried as hard as I could. Three or four days, minimum.


:: Jeff? Warn your Purple step-kids that they've been burned. They may get used for disinformation, so Earth may want them to stay. ::

:: Or just arrested and executed. Or used for diplomatic pressure. Or turned. Old Gods! How does anyone keep double and triple agents straight? Can you? ::

:: Oh sure. The tough part is the double agents themselves not getting so deep into a role that they can't keep their loyalties straight. ::

He got back the mental equivalent to rolling eyes.

:: All they actually do is pass on gossip. ::

:: No doubt from highly placed secretaries and wives. You'd be surprised what wives know. ::

:: Yeah, I've heard about you on One World. Not that I believe half of it. I'll warn Peter when he shows up tomorrow morning. ::

Xen looked fondly down at the redhead leaning on his shoulder.

And then there's the danger of getting so friendly you talk too much. Fifty-fifty that was Urfa giving me a heads up so I can remove a possible diplomatic stink before it gets too ripe. But does Rael know that?

He grinned and relaxed. My femme fatale.

ekuah on April 12th, 2017 03:25 pm (UTC)
...I never realized the connection between the earth infiltration by comet fall and Purple spying for earth operation on embassy.
Have to dig out the stories.
matapampamuphoff on April 12th, 2017 03:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Well...
I'm not sure how much of Xen and Jeff's infiltration I actually posted, since it never got finished. :D But that'll give me something to post while I diddle around trying to get the brain jump-started.
ekuah on April 12th, 2017 05:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Well...
Found them.
Sneak a Peek part 1 - 4 + the raggedy end
15th-19th October 2015
mbarkermbarker on April 13th, 2017 01:01 am (UTC)
Thanks! I ended up chuckling... okay, laughing out loud at the end of this one. Nice bit for my morning.