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Cause [1.2.5]

Early the next morning, Cassil woke up and left her room to find Raziel sleeping in the armchair in the hub room, with the viewport still on. She tutted and walked over to him, shaking him awake.

“Fell asleep watching something again, did you?” she chided good-naturedly. Raziel yawned and nodded, switching off the viewport with the remote.

“Seems so. What time is it, Cassil? I’m tired.”

“It’s still early, I’m not surprised you’re tired.” Cassil replied. “I know what you need. A good shot of caffeine.”

She lifted Raziel, still yawning, to his feet, and sent him off to his room. A few minutes later, he exited, dressed for the day in simple gold and white Zionid clothing. “Alright. Let’s get some tea.”

They left together in high spirits, wandering through the quiet morning. Zion, for the most part, was a busy dimension, but the earliest daylight hours were frequented by few, making it a peaceful place for an hour or two, when the land was still asleep.

Cassil and Raziel barely saw anyone as they walked, weaving their way through apartment towers to find their favourite haunt, a tea room just south of the Citadel. Raziel preferred coffee, but he hadn’t the heart to tell Cassil this, and over the years he had learnt to like tea almost as much as she did.

“So, what were you watching that was so interesting?” asked Cassil.

“Some Pollus stuff.” Raziel replied. “It’s an interesting planet, and I was catching up on some of their earlier history. The revolution and all that.”

“That’s fair. Pollus never interested me, though I admit a lot of the reason I don’t watch it is to annoy Vasa.”

Raziel laughed. “He does love his Pollus history.”

They walked in silence for a few minutes, each wondering what to say to the other.

“So…” Cassil said.

“So.” Raziel replied. He chuckled at the awkwardness of it all. “Come on, Cassil, you really can’t think of anything to say?”

“When I’m with you, I feel like we’ve exhausted all our possible conversations. I like our companionable silences.”

“I’d agree.” Raziel replied. “Oh, actually, that reminds me of one thing. Did you talk to Levan about setting her up with Vasa?”

Cassil laughed, recalling the conversation they’d had a few days prior. “Well, Levan would be all for it, but I get the feeling Vasa’s not into girls.”

“Of course he is.” Raziel said. “He’s always moaning about not having companionship.”

“Well, yes, but… not girls, Raz.”

Raziel shrugged, not catching what Cassil was implying. “Fair enough, guess he just doesn’t need romance.”

They turned a corner and saw the Citadel before them; a mighty building of gold and white marble, with a large set of steps leading up to the imposing wooden door. Stood on every other step, in six clear-cut rows, were eighteen Zionid Officials, who guarded the building day and night. They looked tired, and Raziel presumed that they were reaching the end of their shift, to be relieved shortly. Just beyond the Citadel was a small building nestled between the streets – the tea room.

“I’m not giving up though. Vasa is going to be a pretty lonely guy if we don’t haul ass and find him a girlfriend.” Raziel replied, opening the door to the tea room. A bell tinkled as the door knocked it, alerting the hostess, who waved from the counter on the other side of the room.

“Whatever you say, Raz. You sit down, I’ll order.” Cassil said.

A few minutes later – being the only customers in the tea room so early – Raziel and Cassil were sat by the window opposite one another, Raziel sipping a green tea and Cassil drinking an Earl Grey. She sighed in satisfaction.

“Earth have all the best drinks.” she said contentedly.

“Suppose so.” Raziel agreed. “Long as it’s warm, I’m not too bothered.”

“What are your plans for today, Raz?”

“Not sure. Haven’t been sleeping well lately, so I might just try to catch up.”

Upon hearing this, Cassil immediately put down her tea and became the voice of concern.

“Still not sleeping well? Raz, you need to catch up on sleep otherwise you’re of no use to anybody! I’ll get you some warm milk and cookies, if you want. New blanket? Mattress?”

Raziel smirked at her over his mug. “You really do dote on me, don’t you?”

“Don’t get so cocky, you. I dote on everyone.” Cassil replied with a smile.

“Oh, sure. I forgot that you sat in a queue for eighteen hours to get first dibs on the new helmet designs a few years back, all for Vasa. No, wait! That was for me.”

Cassil sighed. “Anything for my… best friend.”

Raziel gripped her hand briefly. “Thanks, Cassil. I don’t mean to make fun of you; I do appreciate all that you do. And some warm milk sounds lovely.”

“We can get some on the way back, then.”

They sat there in silence, each drinking their own tea, each thinking about something different. Raziel was thinking about the hole in the Reaches, and the monster that threatened their world. Cassil was thinking about Raziel, and her childhood spent following all of his madcap schemes to the letter with a devotion that nobody else could hope to match.

Raziel’s wandering gaze caught Cassil’s eye and he smiled at her. She smiled back, enjoying the peaceful morning and time well spent. Slowly, as they sat there, the dimension began to wake up, and more and more Zionids began to walk the streets to start their day.

Cause [1.2.4]
Cause [1.2.6]

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