Rat & Will Chapter 9: Contracts and Chill

Fro’s easy theft of their belongings was explained when they entered the tavern to find it empty. Even the old man who tended the bar was nowhere to be found. Rat rolled her eyes and headed up to their room. It was only a little tossed; Fro hadn’t been willing to spend too much time looking through their stuff. Still, as Rat emptied her saddlebags, she had to admit that he’d done a good job of picking up easy to sell or trade items despite his speed. The bags were stuffed with two of Will’s shirts, her “fancy” breast band, several of her nicer kerchiefs, her spare lock picks, and a bit of the cheap jewelry she often carried because it was easy to sell or quickly trade. 

Though they were worth far more, he’d left her bottles in a neat pile on the bed. Either he hadn’t known their value, or he knew that not knowing the contents could be dangerous. Smart kid like that, she’d bet he knew at least some of them were poisons, and that anyone who could reliably identify what they were would prefer to make their own. He’d also avoided her packets of herbs. 

Will was already putting items away. When she sat down with a quill and bottle of ink and the contract, he pulled out the shirt she’d been wearing during the dog attack. He sat in front of the small window and mended it while she worked. When she’d completed a first draft she was happy with, she handed it over to him. 

He took it carefully, mindful of wet ink, and read through it. When he finished, he looked up and grinned at her. “You were really pissed about the theft, eh?” 

She shrugged irritably. “No reason they don’t have a person at the bar, or locks on the doors. Stupid.”

“I agree.” He grinned. “But I have to wonder if she’ll sign it.”

“If she doesn’t, then my plans change drastically.” Rat glowered at the contract, then began the laborious process of creating a clean copy. 

Will sighed. “Then I’ll hope she’s amenable. Because I know you well enough to know that I don’t even want to ask about Plan B.”

“It might be fun…” She grinned at him. 

Still fascinated by her quicksilver changes in temper after years of partnership, Will grinned back. “I’m sure. But maybe we can have fun and save the city?”

“Eh.” Rat shrugged and went back to the contract. “Maybe.” 

Will tied off a final strand of thread and bit it off. He held up the repair to the light of the window, and after approving of his own work, put away his tools and glanced at his wife. She was engaged in the scribe work and not paying him any attention. But perhaps she could be convinced to be distracted…

More than an hour later, Rat was pulling on her boots. From the bed, Will watched her with a pleased and lazy smile. She sent him a look. “You gonna put some clothes on? We do have other things to do today.”

He grinned. “Maybe. I’m pretty happy right here.” 

She rolled her eyes. “Of course you are.” She finished arranging her clothing and picked up the copy of the contract she’d been working on before Will distracted her. After reading both the original and the copy, she picked up her quill, dipped it and began on the next line. 

On the bed, Will sighed with obvious regret, and sat up. He puttered about the room, putting on clothing and humming off key. At the table, Rat smiled, but didn’t look up from her work. By the time Will had pulled out the shirt he’d ripped in the dog attack and his tools, she was dusting the first copy with fine sand. She pulled the next sheet, dipped her quill, and began again. Will threaded a needle and got to work, still humming. 

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