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An Angel's Smile

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“Where is he?”

Lavinia had been sitting at her desk, doing some paperwork, when the doors had burst open, and in strode the leader of the Boros guild, Aurelia. She was over seven feet tall and muscular, wearing her usual plate armour, and a tabard that boldly declared her guild allegiance in red and white. Her hair, long and bright red, hung loose behind her as she strode in, choosing to walk rather than fly using the enormous pair of wings on her back.

“Ah, excuse me, Guildmaster Aurelia, I did not know you were coming,” Lavinia said, standing up behind her desk. Despite the interruption being potentially worrying, it was still nice to stand up, since she had been sitting here in her own suit of plate since that morning.

Aurelia snorted, and the corner of her mouth tilted up. “There’s been some trouble, and I need to speak to the Guildpact. And before you ask, no, I don’t have an appointment.”

That made Lavinia too crack a smile. She would have to be a fool to not know of her reputation for being humourless and a stickler to every rule in the book. The reputation was not wrong, and she didn’t have a problem with being known as either. “I haven’t seen the Guildpact for three days,” Lavinia said. Even if one could lie in the presence of an angel, she wouldn’t have tried it. “I do not know where he is.”

That made Aurelia grimace. “Blast it all. Where does he disappear to?”

Lavinia shrugged. “It’s not the first time, but I imagine it must be some important business. Now then, Guildmaster, may I help you in his stead?”

“I certainly hope so,” Aurelia said, the full force of her golden eyed gaze coming to rest once more on Lavinia.

The Boros Guildmaster was intense, and standing not a metre away from her made it all the more clear just how striking she was. She wore some makeup around her eyes, but Lavinia didn’t know of the vibrant red of her lips was from a gloss or natural. Lavinia scolded herself, and made herself stop thinking about the Guildmaster’s lips.

“The Orzhov have been trying to claim possession over one of the guild barracks in the sixth precinct. They’ve been sending their advokists and causing such a stink that my captains came to me about this, since the paperwork the Orzhov bring is indecipherable,” Aurelia said, reaching into a satchel Lavinia only just now noticed she had at her side. She removed a hefty stack of papers and held it aloft with one hand. “I’m not a legal minded sort at all, and I know I’ve never borrowed money from those leeches, and I certainly hope my captains have not either. I want to what sort of ruse those blasted priests are trying to play here.”

“I would be happy to look over the papers for you,” Lavinia said.

Aurelia grinned. “Thanks. I feel a bit bad, though, since it looks as though you’ve got your plate full already.” She gestured towards the desk, which was covered in papers, all in neat stacks.

“Oh,” Lavinia said, glancing to the desk as well. “Well, a lot of this has already been completed, and will be collected at the end of the day. With the Guildpact gone, there’s a bit more than usual.”

“I can imagine some folk wouldn’t take too kindly to being told that he was absent,” Aurelia said. She was still grinning as she perched on the edge of the chair across from the desk.

Since she was sitting, or near enough, Lavinia sat as well. “The leader of a Rakdos troupe was in here yesterday afternoon,” Lavinia began, then she said abruptly, realizing she should offer the Guildmaster some refreshment, and that she hadn’t eaten since breakfast, “Would you like some tea?”

“I’d love some,” Aurelia said.

The angel’s smile was too bright, and Lavinia found herself returning it. She stood up again and asked one of the Azorius guards outside the room to bring in a pot of tea and something to eat. She shut the door as she walked back.

“What was I just saying?” Lavinia said as she sat down.

“Something about a Rakdos performer who was in yesterday,” Aurelia said.

“Oh, yes. Apparently, a rival troupe set off fireworks during the performance of this man’s show,” Lavinia said. “He was quite distraught.”

Aurelia laughed, her head tipping back and the sound coming out heartily. “This was clearly a matter for the Guildpact! What did you say to him?”

“I said that we only dealt with inter guild matters, and would not be able to look into this for him, and suggested that he speak to whomever ran the establishment his troupe was performing at,” Lavinia said.

“Seems sensible enough,” Aurelia said. There was still colour in her cheeks from her laughing just before, and it made Lavinia’s own feel a bit warm knowing that her words had put it there.

There was a light knock on the door, and after being called to enter, a guard carried in a tray of tea and cookies. He saluted to the Guildmaster and Lavinia before leaving the room, once more closing the door.

“Was it you or the Guildpact who found the baker who makes these?” Aurelia said as she began munching on a cookie.

“It was Jace,” Lavinia said, pouring the tea for them both. “He has a strong sweet tooth.”

“I can see that. Do you have a favourite sort of dessert, Lavinia?” Aurelia said.

“I have no real preference for food, so long as it is good,” Lavinia said, shrugging.

“Not even chocolates?” Aurelia said, putting a hand to her chest and exaggerating a look of shock.

Lavinia chuckled. “I do like chocolate. It’s just not my weakness.”

“What is your weakness, then?” Aurelia said, leaning forward and raising an eyebrow.

Lavinia felt the start of a blush on her cheeks. Surely the Guildmaster wasn’t flirting with her? “Books, I suppose,” Lavinia said.

“I can see that,” Aurelia said, grinning once again. “But,” Aurelia said, sobering a bit, “I still feel bad for giving you my troubles with the Orzhov to deal with on top of everything else.”

“Think nothing of it. That’s what I’m here for,” Lavinia said.

“Would you let me repay you anyway? I had a good time having tea with you, so I’d love to take you to lunch tomorrow, if you’ll let me,” Aurelia said.

Lavinia was embarrassed to find herself gaping for a moment. Surely, this wasn’t what it sounded like. But she wasn’t imagining the pink blush on the angel’s cheeks. “I… think I could take tomorrow afternoon off,” Lavinia said, the words taking a moment to arrange themselves.

“To clarify, this wouldn’t be anything official. Is that alright?” Aurelia said.

“That is alright,” Lavinia said, then paused. “Do… you mean for it to be a date?”

“I would love that, if you would,” Aurelia said. Her face still had some pink in her cheeks, but she looked a bit solemn as she waited for Lavinia’s answer.

“O-Of course!” Lavinia said, then felt warmth cover her own face both at how loudly she had just spoken and the Guildmaster’s words. “I should like that dearly,” she said, at a lower volume this time.

“Excellent. Would one o’clock suit?”

“Yes, that should be good.”

“I’ll meet you here, then. I know a nice café not far from here that we can walk to,” Aurelia said.

“That sounds wonderful,” Lavinia said.

“Great!! One o’clock tomorrow afternoon!!” Aurelia said, shooting to her feet. “I’m glad I got to see you today, Lavinia, and I’ll be gladder to see you again tomorrow!!’

Lavinia also hurriedly stood, and said, “I had a very good time speaking with you, Guildmaster.”

“Please, call me Aurelia,” the angel said.

“I-I am looking forward to seeing you tomorrow for lunch, Aurelia,” Lavinia said, blushing once again.

Aurelia nodded, and her cheeks turned pink once more. “I won’t keep you from work longer, then! I shall see you soon!!” Aurelia said. They said goodbye to one another, and when Lavinia tried to offer a bow, Aurelia grew flustered and insisted she did not need to be so formal.

Lavinia sat back down after Aurelia had left, and didn’t move for a good five minutes. She replayed their entire conversation in her head, blushing as she did. Sure, she had always admired Aurelia and thought she was competent, and beautiful. Never had she pictured that Aurelia might be interested in her as well, and never had she pictured going on a date with her!

She stood after another long moment had passed. She was still on the clock for a while longer, and if she was going to take tomorrow afternoon off, she needed to make the most of the rest of the day.

Lavinia opened the door to Jace’s office, which was connected to hers, and she stepped in, intending to move some documents to his workspace for him to review upon his return. To her surprise, she saw that he was sitting behind his desk, hair a bit mussed and wearing some different clothing under his usual blue cloak.

“Good afternoon, Lavinia,” he said, looking up with a smile.

“Good afternoon,” she said, trying to not make it obvious that she was trying to peer at what he was currently writing. “When did you get back?”

“About half an hour ago,” Jace said, setting his quill down and pushing the paper over so that she could more easily read it.

“I didn’t hear you come in,” Lavinia said, walking over anyway.

“I didn’t come in the front. I heard from one of the guards you were having a rather nice conversation with Guildmaster Aurelia, though, and I could hear you laughing through the door,” Jace said.

“We were speaking about work,” Lavinia said, trying to collect herself.

“I don’t need to be a telepath to see through that,” Jace said. He was smiling even as she set down the armload of papers on his desk.

“I shall be taking tomorrow afternoon off,” Lavinia said. She was unable to prevent the hint of a smile from curving her lips up. “I hope you shall be here tomorrow, Guildpact.

“Of course! You’ve covered for me more than enough times, and I’ve always thought you should work a bit less!” Jace said.

“So you’ve said. Well, if that’s all for the moment, I would like to get ahead on some things before tomorrow,” she said, and turned to head back to her own desk.

“I’ll be here early tomorrow to make up for my absence, so I’ll definitely see you before… your time off,” Jace said. He was still grinning at her, which made Lavinia shake her head and try not to smile as well.

She sat back down at her own desk, and ran her hands through her short hair. Lavinia made herself pick up her discarded quill. There was a day before the date tomorrow, and she had a lot of work to do before then, so she needed to get to it. As Lavinia bent back down over her paperwork, she couldn’t help the small smile that refused to leave her face.