A/N: Originally written for Writing Rainbow: Pink on AO3 for hearthouses.

Kind of put book! and show!canon into a blender as far as the Crows and Ketterdam, but eh I think it works.


Pink Sky in the Morning

The return to the Barrel went more smoothly than Inej had anticipated. Per Haskell hadn't been pleased when his lieutenant vanished across the sea and the Fold with the irrational promise of returning with a million kruge, but then again he hadn't exactly expected him to succeed, either. That kind of money didn't move around in Ketterdam outside of the Merchant council, and it especially didn't fly into the hands of the Dregs.

Still, the gang leader didn't have to accept the significantly more meager cut of the take from the Ravkan royal jewels that they did come out with. Inej kept watch on the skinny windowsill while Haskell dragged Kaz over the coals for the suitable length of time. Her allegiance might have been to the Dregs, but should things turn sour between the lieutenant and the alleged leader of the gang…

Inej didn't have to answer that question, though, as Haskell pawed through the stack of kruge that Kaz had placed on the desk. They had managed to fence the jewels before even leaving the docks in Ravka, further keeping the Ravkan's target off of their back here in the Barrel. Haskell gave another halfhearted growl at Kaz before gesturing for him to leave. He wanted to tuck into another pint before turning in for the night. Inej twisted on the windowsill to climb back to the top of the Slat.

Kaz's room looked much the same as it had when they had left, although the DeKappel was notably missing. Inej's lips twisted in a frown. That had seemed like such an important, notable job before Ravka. Now the painting seemed less significant, less worthwhile. What was a splash of oil on a canvas compared to the Sun Saint's life that they had chased?

"I won't be able to go to Tante Helene until tomorrow night," Kaz called as he made his way up from the stairwell. Inej stiffened at the woman's name, confusion and the all-too-familiar panic racing in equal measure along her spine. Then she remembered - the Crow Club shares, Kaz's devil's bargain to buy out Inej's indenture fully. Of course he knew she would be here. Of course he would assume that to be her first and only priority.

Frankly, Inej was too tired from their journey, all of it, to really have put much thought into it. Walking back through the familiar paths of the Barrel - she didn't know how that would feel without the thread that seemed to always tie her back to the Menagerie. The streets had been especially dark tonight, the moon already having risen and sank by the time that their ship had docked. Only the lights of the brothels, card houses, and the indomitable spirit of the Komedie Brute had lit their way back.

"You mean tonight. We're well into a new day already, even if it is still dark," Inej finally managed to respond. She saw the twitch of Kaz's lips as she coaxed a smirk from him, the closest to mirth that might grace the face of the Bastard of the Barrel.

"I suppose so." Being returned to his own space, their own turf of the Slat, Kaz's shoulders finally sloped into a relaxed arc. He divested himself of his woolen coat, his vest, his shoes. Inej lingered in the open arch of the windowsill. Kaz's office had the best view of the Barrel, she thought. Perhaps not the perfect one for a job or for making out the winding streets and canals all the way to the further reaches of the city, but for Inej it was still her favorite.

Kaz slipped behind his desk, nodding at Inej as he did so. She almost couldn't believe that he was going to dive right back into work after everything that they'd been through. Except, well, it was Kaz. Just as surely as she had elected to watch over his meeting with Per Haskell, he was ready to jump right back into the job regardless of the sea salt still clinging to his hair and shirt collar.

When he gestured with a twitch of his gloves hand, Inej slipped off the sill to give whatever input he requested or reminder on some rumor she had plucked from the streets on their way in and out. The first rays of dawn were creeping into the room, spreading a delicate pink onto his papers.


A/N: Blanket statement for my oneshots - Please do not ask if I am continuing these. They are single "chapter" fics which I am considering complete. Thank you. - DragonMaster65