“You need to slow down Kat or you’ll get hurt. I don’t know this Adrian you’re talking about but the man I knew wouldn’t want his daughter getting involved in anything like this.”
“It’s not your place to see to that.”
“No apparently, my place is standing idly on the sidelines while everyone I love falls victim to heroics and suffers. I don’t see the heroics in this but I won’t let you join the others.”
Kat laughed humorlessly.
“I know the man you’re talking about. He used to rock me on his knee when I was little and help me climb trees. He’s fading now, hidden in the shell of this distant stranger. But I can bring him back.”
Skipper sighed, rubbing a boney hand over this tired eyes. He eased himself down into the chair by the unlit fireplace.
“Have a seat Kat.” He said gesturing to the chair across from him. Kat obeyed.
“I don’t know what’s happened but I’d be a fool to let you handle this on your own with the crazy ideas you’ve been coming up with. So I will help you only if you promise to calm down and think things through properly. It’s no use losing yourself trying to save your father.”
“Okay.” Kat whispered quietly. The anger slowly faded from her giving way to tears that rolled down her cheeks leaving a glittering trail on her dirty face.
Skipper pretended not to notice the tears.
“You’ve had a long journey and a stressful one too I’m sure. If you want I have a spare room you could rest in we could try to come up with some plans tomorrow.”
Skipper led her to the spare room. It was dark and cluttered with wooden crates filled with ink, metal tools and paper. There was a barrel of clothes by the door. He dragged some shirts and pants out of one of the barrel, laying them on the floor over each other to back a bed. He then went to the leaving room and took his coats off the rack by the door to use as blanket although Kat had brought her own.
“I hope this will do.” He said when it was finished.
“I’ve been sleeping on the desert floor for a week now, as long as there are no snakes this is a step up.” Kat said politely.
Skipper laughed. He shuffled out into the living room and sat down by the fireplace. Theodulus rose from his spot by the door and padded over to Skipper to lay in a half circle around the old man’s chair.
Kat closed the door to the room. She pulled off her pack and wrapped it in her oversized jacket before placing it at the head of the makeshift bed for a pillow. She pulled of her boots and her belt and placed them by the door before climbing into her hard bed.
Out in the living room Skipper lit his pipe staring thoughtfully into the blackened fire pit a slight frown deepened the wrinkles of his brow. His gaze flicked to the locked front door half expecting a Cursed Firefly to come burning through the door. Perhaps they hadn’t sensed they part of her that was Adrian yet but how long would that last.