Fictober, Prompt 5 – “I might just kiss you.”
Warnings: None. Fantasy, smidge of romance.
“No, no, no, you cannot—” I cursed as the thick block of ice began to slip, the ice tongs not gripping it tightly enough.
Jumping back, I saved my foot from being smashed. It was only a small consolation as the ice shattered against the cold stone of the floor, and I contemplated the necessity of going back out into the freezing cold night to cut another piece. I was trying to carry pieces that were too big, but I was only going to have the energy to perform this spell once, and the larger the piece of ice, the longer it would last. My group desperately needed the help; we had several wounded and ill among us, and while this place could give us shelter, it was too cold to remain in for long.
Unless I could get this spell, with its thrice-cursed components, working.
Grimacing, I turned around to trudge back up the corridor, passing a handful of other shattered ice blocks along the way. If only I could carry the ice myself, or with magic, then I would be finished already. The touch of anything but metal would contaminate the ice for this particular spell, though, so it had to be with the tongs.
This time was my farthest distance yet, though, and I was close to the room where I wanted to place it. Maybe this time I could make it—
Lost in my not-too-hopeful contemplations, I jumped at the voice ahead of me. It was Tamás, one of our fighters and certainly the strongest member of our group, and he was carrying…
He was carrying a block of ice even bigger than those I had managed, supported by the metal blade of a shovel underneath, and steadied by another pair of ice tongs on top.
“It’s okay as long as only metal has touched it, right?” he asked, hesitating. “The saw blade was metal, and I thought the shovel would be okay too.”
I spent half a second realizing what an idiot I had been for not thinking of that before the relief got ahead of my brain and I blurted out, “I might just kiss you!”
Tamás blinked, then raised an eyebrow at me.
I felt my face go red, and cleared my throat quickly. “I mean, thank you. I wouldn’t— I know you’re not— It isn’t—”
“It’s fine,” he cut off my increasingly meaningless attempts to explain myself. I was glad he was taking that very unplanned confession so calmly and got my mind back on track.
“Yes, the metal shovel is fine,” I assured him, letting any faint surprise that he had known that pass. Although many people assumed otherwise based on his size and profession, Tamás was very intelligent. He also knew, or had been learning, more about magic since I had joined the group.
Then I realized that I was keeping him waiting with what had to be a heavy chunk of ice, even for him, and hurried to show him to the right room. This old fortress was long abandoned and half-crumbled, but the intact sections would be shelter enough if I could get the cold under control.
Still careful not to touch it with anything but the metal, Tamás set the ice block down on the metal plate I had prepared (the remains of an old shield) in one of the lowest useable parts of the building. Cold sank anyway, so this was a better location than one of the rooms above. He stayed as I performed the spell: a little bit of our precious salt store worth it for the comfort and chance at recovery this would give the others. The expenditure of my power was draining, but I had grounded wards already in place, and with a little luck we would all have a few days to rest.
I blew out a relieved breath as I felt the sympathetic magic spell take effect, the ice now calling cold to it, pulling it down and out of the fortress above. The temperatures there should be climbing even as this room began to feel colder. It was a slow process and would take most of the night to fully take effect, but it should work for several days. Combined with fires we could light above, it should be enough to keep the bone-chilling cold outside at bay.
“Thank you,” I told Tamás again, and he nodded before following me out of the room.
I found myself with my back against the stone wall a breath later, his large hands keeping me in place. Wide-eyed, heart thumping with anxiety, I stared up at him. Was he mad after all…?
“Now,” he said, mouth quirking up in a smile. “I think you said something about a kiss?”
“Oh,” I breathed. “I— Yes, yes I—”
His lips cut me off decisively. I might not even need a fire, part of me realized, to keep warm tonight.
There are some days where my subconscious and my fingers are on a roll together and then my conscious brain is like “Where are we going? Oh, ice magic, okay, that works. Only metal can touch it for this spell? Why not.”
One of the neat things about these first person short stories is that there isn’t much time to find out things about the main character. This one for instance, could, all in perfect plausibility, be a gay romance; it all depends on what the reader’s imagination does with it.
I’m glad you’re enjoying them! The ambiguity in many of them is deliberate, for exactly that reason. I have my own thoughts about what is going on in each of them, but I’m enjoying the ability in these short pieces to leave a lot of it up to the reader’s imagination.