I felt guilty about not working on this one for a while, when it's the first DL fic I started. Hourglass came out of this one when I pondered the possibility of giving the characters modern names (Raistlin was originally going to be "Chase" because it sounded kinda like 'Raist', but I changed my mind and now he's Rheas) Anyway, Important note of doom! Um, this story is written in semi-serious fashion, but it is supposed to be humor in its own twisted way, putting the characters in weird modern situations and all…yeah…You can kinda tell I began this chapter a long time ago, and then finished the rest of it recently but…oh well. Okay, enjoy.
Click, click, click…
The two twins strode down the street in the pre-dawn light; the smaller's cane striking against the hard sidewalk at every other step. Nothing moved on the deserted street, save the soggy remains of a newspaper that fluttered off the sidewalk in the early morning breeze. The sky was pale pink, casting an eerie glow upon them. They stood under the extinguished street lamp, the same place they had occupied for countless days. Hopefully, business would be good. The sun broke over the cluttered horizon.
Leaning on his cane, the smaller released a muffled cough.
Thus the day began. People immediately began to swarm in the streets, hurrying to work, to the shops, anywhere. Cars, busses and taxi's began to pull through occasionally, trying shortcuts to the business district.
Tanis Half-Elven leaned against the old yellow taxi in boredom. If there was one advantage to this job, it was the interesting people he met daily. But then again, that was often as depressing as the usual drive through the streets. The few outsiders he did meet never had any good news of outside the city. He took the last sip of his coffee and tossed the foam cup into a nearby waste bin.
Those that didn't mind being drove around by a half-elf, anyway.
"Off to work?" Tanis called out to his dwarven roommate, passing him on the sidewalk. The sleepy dwarf grunted in response and shuffled into the coffee shop. Ah, awakening before all else.
Routine. The day by day events that currently ran his life. His elven half appreciated this, he always knew what to expect, except for a few surprises here and there. His human half, however, had grown bored and cried out silently for a variety. Perhaps that's why he found himself a job as a taxi driver. Every day was different from the last, at least a little bit.
Climbing into the old car, Tanis drove to the outskirts of the business district. It was a little nicer here than the street he lived, but not by much. It was just as plagued with dealers, gangs and psychos as was his home.
Right, it was home, this city, Solace.
Overall, it was a very nice city, just not this part. Downtown was where all the tall skyscrapers, nicely dressed people, and fancy businesses were. He rarely needed to go there, and when he did pick up passengers who requested travel into the heart of the city, it always happened to be at rush hour. However, today was a slow day, and Tanis didn't go far at all. A very slow day.
Tanis sighed and observed the people wandering about. The inn was already open, Tika reaching out and rotating the 'closed' sign to announce this. She looked up and waved to him before turning back into the comfort and heat of the indoors. There was that kender who seemed to roam the streets endlessly, prowling for adventure. He was probably finding interesting things to "borrow" from passing citizens. The dealers down the street under the lamp, doused for now, apparently having a good day as the freaky young man already had the attention of a passing dwarf. There went Flint, more awake now, heading farther up town to work. What else? Ah, there was a nice car…wait, nice car, out here? Not only that, it was stopping? Tanis rotated himself so he could have a better look at the new shmuck rolling into town.
Three people emerged from the luxury car. A tall man and a beautiful woman, both wearing the unexciting clothes from the rural areas up north, spoke to the third man quickly and he gestured to the inn across the street. The couple nodded in thanks and left him. The third, who obviously owned the car, had a proud noble air about him. He wore an official looking jacket and an antique sword hung from his belt. Oh yes, Tanis recognized him.
"Sturm!" he cried, embracing his friend.
"Tanis," Sturm greeted, "you grew a beard."
Tanis shrugged. "So what're you doing here? I thought you went north with Kitiara? And with that car…you're begging to be mugged."
"We went our separate paths long ago, she went to find anything on her father."
Sturm took a firm hold of his sword. "This was all I could salvage. It is said to break only when I do."
"Man, that thing could date back to the Cataclysms…"
"Gaah!" Tanis nearly jumped as he turned to find the freakish dealer at his side, leering at him with those hourglass eyes, "What do you want?"
"Want to try something good? I've got a new 'flavor' guaranteed to make you…" he was cut off with a fit of coughing.
"Uninterested. Go away." Tanis replied.
The young man cursed, still coughing, and trudged back to his post. "Caramon, my weed!"
Sturm looked after the dealer in disgust. "Since when has Solace fallen under the 'slums' category?" It hadn't been like this before he left. Sure, Solace had its bad spots, like any city, but now it seemed as though those 'small' spots had tripled in size.
"I'm not sure myself. But it all started when the Seekers showed up. How they gained such a strong foothold on everyone, I keep asking, but only the people from uptown seem to know, and they don't tell me much. Either way, you're safer here in the 'slums' than anywhere else. Patrol hardly passes through here..."
As in response to his words, there was a high whistle and shouting. Tanis gently moved Sturm back as the two drug dealers ran by.
"Run Caramon! They're gaining on us!"
"I'm right behind you Raist!" The two ran up the street and vanished into an ally, patrol passing by quickly.
"…Except once a week to clean out the drug dealers." Tanis sighed.
"Disgraceful." Sturm nearly spat.
"Nah, just pathetic. Those two'll be back at their post in five minutes," he changed subjects as the two began to walk down the street leisurely. "So, who was the couple that showed up with you?"
"I don't know. I found them on the outskirts, wandering around. They needed a place to stay, and I could think of no place better." Sturm explained, gesturing to the inn.
The half-elf nodded, then said, "Well, I better get back to work. Do you have a place to stay?"
"Right, I'll see ya later then."
Business was slow, Caramon was bored, and Raistlin was high. That made them less than amusing, and Tasslehoff Burrfoot would have to find entertainment elsewhere. He followed traffic for a while, sitting on the back bumper of a coup, until some road construction slowed traffic to a standstill. He skipped back to the sidewalk and leapt cracks until he bumped into a guard who obviously had no sense of humor.
"'Scuse me," he piped, backing off. He looked around. He had explored the 'slums' quarter a number of times and decided it was time to revisit the business district. Hopping onto the back bumper of a bus, along with three other kender, of which immediately began to introduce themselves, and waited until they reached the tall shining sky scrapers.
Parting with the kender (of which he had discovered he was related to through Uncle Trapspringer) he skipped along, peering into windows of shops and occasionally wandering in. He would then be ushered back out, the shopkeepers digging random items out of his pockets.
"Well I never…oh, is it yours? Good thing I found it for you!"
"Beat it kender!" the shopkeeper shouted, slamming the door in his face.
"Well, that wasn't very polite! He could've at least thanked me for finding his ruby." Tasslehoff pouted. He shrugged and continued along, happy as ever. What else could he see?
By noon his stomach was telling him it was time for lunch. Though he had had a delicious muffin a kind lady had given him (afterall, why else would she have them set out like that?), he was still hungry, and suddenly in the mood for Otik's spicy potatoes. Climbing into the back of a truck, he rode home quite comfortably with a dog that seemed as interested in the kender's tales as he was with licking himself.
The sky had darkened slightly with an endless blanket of clouds as Flint made his way home. The street seemed rather empty, but it was only mid-day. Turning the corner, he saw the reason. Something of a crowd had gathered around the flashing lights of a patrol car, parked under the dark street lamp. Pushing through the small crowd, he saw what the commotion was about and rolled his eyes. He should have known…
"Really, sir, I meant her no harm, I was just…!" the big man protested as he was pushed into the car. "Raist! Tell them!"
"Just go along with it, my brother. I'll come bail you out when I have the money." the thin young man said quietly.
Caramon did as his brother commanded, and did not resist. The crowd began to disperse as the car pulled away.
"Farewell, Caramon," Raistlin called after dramatically, waving his beret in the air, "And remember, don't pick up anybody's soap!" Dropping the beret back on his head, the dealer wrapped his trenchcoat about himself and returned to his post.
Flint shook his head and hurried off. One down, he wondered what it would take to have them both disappear. As he approached his apartment building, he could hear the dealer call out, in his own quiet way.
"Kender! I've got something that'll make your head spin!"
"Wow! That sounds interesting, I've never had my head spin before! Can I have some?"
"Oh no, this is just to good for me to give up and…"
"I'll pay anything!"
"That's just what I wanted to hear."
The dwarf sighed and quickly entered the building.
That evening Tanis returned home to find, as usual, his roommate placed before the television, absently flipping through channels of endless crap.
"Anything interesting?" the half-elf inquired, flopping down beside Flint with a bag of chips.
Reaching over, Flint grabbed a few before answering. "Another damn gully dwarf got stuck in the pipes uptown, a team had to get 'im out. I don't know why they bother…"
"Nothing about the fact that fucking goblins have been brought into Solace?"
"Nope. Whatever it is, they're keeping a tight lid on it. They're not just doing regular patrol however, they're looking for something."
"How should I know? What I don't hear in gossip, which is worth as much as a gully dwarf's teeth, I see with my own eyes."
"Alright. Hey, I'm gonna order a pizza, what do you want? And keep it simple."
"Pepperoni it is. Some breadsticks too…"
"Are they free?"
"Not worth it. Get some real bread from the breadbox, I bought a new loaf this morning."
"Right. It's that good kind right, you didn't get that damned rock hard type…"
"I bought my kind."
"I'm getting the breadsticks." Tanis decided, reaching for the phone.
"Next time, Caramon, when the girl looks uninterested, let her go! I'm not bailing you out again!"
"Well how was I supposed to know she was gonna scream like that?"
"The fact you are dressed like you're out to kill someone could be a hint," Raistlin hissed, pushing open the door to their home. The building was shabby and slightly run down, but comfortable and generally clean. It was owned by a grouchy old woman who rented out the room upstairs to the two, despite her complaining of how awful they were. But they paid their rent on time, though she obviously did not, as they lost their power often.
Leaning on his cane, Raistlin coughed and pulled himself up the stairs steadily. Reaching the door to their room, his hourglass eyes widened, and then narrowed in sudden anger. A sign had been quickly taped on the door, it read:
I want you boys out by tomorrow evening!
"Apparently the old hag has discovered how we pay for our bread and rent,"
"What are we gonna do Raist?"
"About what?" Raistlin inquired with amusement, ripping the sign off the door.
"But what about when she…?"
"We'll deal with it tomorrow, my brother. I'm too tired to think right now since you had to land yourself across town with your skirt-chasing antics." He pushed open the door and flipped on the lights. Tossing his coat aside, he went and fell with a raspy sigh onto his mattress, which lay across the room from his brothers.
Caramon stood there a moment, digging his toes into the once-white carpet. With a nod he decided what to do and made his way over to the kitchenette to heat up some food for himself. He was in the process of opening a can when the lights flickered and died, plunging him into darkness.
"Not again," he sighed, "Raist, do you think you could…?"
The crystal atop the cane, leaning against the wall, lit up brightly, illuminating the room.
"Thanks," Caramon said, prodding around his can with a fork. "Mm, cold canned spaghetti, my favorite." the big man whispered sarcastically.
He shook his head and ate in silence, listening to the sound of his brother's labored breathing.
Thanks to uh, 'no-name' for the 'arresting' idea! And yeah, that's pretty much Raistlin's plan. This isn't my best work, but that's because my muse escaped earlier, so until I find him and drag him back here, I've been using the best substitute I could find. (pets Chibi-Raist on head, he tries to squirm away to no avail) You're so cute, why can't the real one be cute too? Probably because then he would be a pussy… Okay, I've had enough sugar now…off to Hourglass!