In Ink and Code
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In Ink and Code


In which two worlds collide in a dance of love.

A bench for two sat across another, each facing a squared table holding various papers and lanterns. It was a small nook in one particular corner of a study that had come to be home for two peculiar individuals. Twice a week it bustled with energy that became so hard to describe for Micaria.

She didn't spend much time in places like these, especially not libraries. They were usually reticent and uninterrupted spaces that didn't follow her exact frequency of life, but she had managed to gain a good enough reason to at least pay it a few visits every few days.

Various chains and straps that held her attire together rustled as she found her seat at the bench, rough leather creaking up against old wood before begrudgingly settling under the weight.

Micaria tried her hardest to remain still and patient in her place so as to not disturb the other patrons who sought to enjoy their literature here. However, despite her best attempts, the urge to occasionally bounce her legs and listen to the rhythm of rattling zippers on her sides was irresistible.

She decided to give it five minutes, and then ten, up until an hour had crept up on her. Plenty of Library patrons had come and gone in the time, the lights above dimming to signal the arrival of the afternoon. Micaria could only muster a disappointed sigh, knowing that they would be unable to meet once again.

Her pale arm — littered with all kinds of glowing symbolism — reached up to a more weathered book, removing it with care. Her other arm brushed through the pages as it hung upside down, dust and debris falling until accompanied by the slow drift of a slightly crumpled paper trailing downward onto her lap. It was the same one she had pushed into the book nearly a week ago, which means he had never shown up to grab it. A worry began to pulse through her mind.

Perhaps if she went to the nearest help desk, she could check in on the last time he entered the Library; they tended to be very careful with such documentation.

Reaching for a satchel on her belt, she pulled a haphazardly folded blank page from it, shaking it of little treasures she had collected and kept in there as well. Realizing she had been unable to grab the pen from within it, she reached into it again, pointed metal fingers piercing and poking around the leather to find no such object around.

She quickly clicked it shut to ensure nothing else would fall out before spinning to each of her sides, feeling for the misplaced pen in any loose pockets. After turning up with nothing, a drawn-out groan of displeasure left her lips, interrupted only by the conspicuous and blatant sound of someone clearing their dry throat. Slowly, she lifted her head to meet gaze with a short, tan man, piercing him with the metallic eyes of her own, partially obscured by a projected visor. Her stare didn't last very long as the pieces clicked together, causing her eyes to soften considerably.

"I believe you were looking for something?" The pen she looked for sat in the rough hand he had extended, to which she entirely disregarded in favour of standing to pull him into her embrace. He chuckled wholeheartedly before hugging her back, a few bones cracking when he allowed himself to relax into the welcoming feeling once more.

"I thought I'd never see you again, Sadiki." Micaria's voice was a tad glitched as she attempted to hold back all kinds of emotions. Sadiki was surprised to see her so emotional; she never struck him to be the type.

They finally broke from the hug, allowing them both to sit in their respective places across from one another. Micaria reached a hand to her robotic one, clicking a button that dispersed the holographic visor protecting her eyes. She wanted to see him better after being unable to after several months. The only noticeable differences were his longer hair and the visible bags below his eyes.

"Trust me, I thought so too. But things are going for the better now; I had a lot on my plate back at home." He laughed nervously before continuing. "The king demands I take the throne and find myself a queen." Micaria assumed as much. Being the prince of an entire world probably wasn't the most straightforward task. She was advised not to visit him, seeing as this was all to remain secret.

"Ah… yeah."

It wasn't much of an answer. But, then again, what else could she say? His life was as much of a secret to her as it was to his world. It was an uncomfortable circumstance, one that she wished could be different.

"Well, I do have something for you." He offered the same envelope she usually found placed here with both hands, a waxy parchment made of dried fish scales and a seal of hardened sap. It was finely crafted, so she was sure to be gentle while retrieving the sheet of paper situated inside.

"It was the letter I was going to leave here for you, but it seems the arcana surrounding us had different plans in mind."

His words made her hum, closing the letter once more to save it for when she went home, allowing it to rest upon the wooden table between them. Micaria wasn't sure what she should say now after so much time had passed. With no time to prepare herself, she felt an empty sentence stuck in her throat.

Despite her struggle for words, Sadiki was quite at peace — sitting there and basking in the calming company he had accidentally entangled with himself so long ago. Perhaps he did not understand the weight of his past statement to the woman.

"I really ought to—"

"Would you be so interested as to accompany me for dinner tonight?" He hurriedly cut her off, which was not something he had ever done before. Sadiki's hands were clasped together firmly, knuckles going white as he waited for a reply.

"Yes! I mean, sure. Dinner works." Not wanting to scare him away, she watched as he stood slowly, following suit once he stepped away from the bench. She didn't think he meant right now, but she wasn't going to question such an opportunity.

Once they had both risen to their feet, the two figures linked arms before strolling off through the winding shelves, leaving only the letter on the dimly lit table and the sounds of gentle bare feet accompanied by clicking metal toed boots in their wake.

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