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Wrenched

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Anaxagoras's workshop looked as if he had tried to cram the contents of a medium sized house into a single room - probably because he had, Scylax reflected with amused fondness.

"Not exactly spacious, but at least up here it's safe from any luddites," Anaxagoras said.

"I should hope so, yes." Scylax fought a wave of nostalgia. "You - oomph."

One moment he'd been thinking of all the things about Anaxagoras he'd missed, the next, he was lying - not on the floor but on Anaxagoras, more or less.

Anaxagoras chuckled. "Well. I suppose that answers my question of whether or not you missed me."

"I tripped over one of your wrenches," Scylax said.

"Oh. Sorry." Anaxagoras's expression turned sheepish. "In my defense, I wasn't expecting visitors."

"Fair enough."

"And for all your complaining, you got quite good at navigating my workshop without tripping over or bumping into anything. At least without causing any explosions." Anaxagoras paused. "Any accidental explosions, anyway."

Scylax realized that he'd missed this too: having a friend, a companion, someone to talk to and laugh with and make him feel the world wasn't such a hopeless place after all.

"I guess I'm a bit out of practice," he said.

"Might be easy enough to remedy," Anaxagoras said. "After all of this is done, maybe ...? I know this quest you're on is important to you, but ... "

Sure, if I live to see the end of it. Scylax shook his head. "I'd like that. Assuming there's room."

Anaxagoras smiled. "For you, always. Now, if you could let me get up, there's a few valves I'd like to check up on, just in case."

"Yes." Scylax closed his eyes. "In a moment." There had been no one after Anaxagoras, not really. He'd had his quest, his goal, and he had pursued it single-mindedly.

Perhaps part of him had felt guilty for all the years he'd dragged Anaxagoras along with him. Even at the end, Anaxagoras had never reproached him, but with time to reflect, Scylax had begun to feel that he had perhaps not always acted as a friend, taking Anaxagoras's aid and presence for granted - until he could no longer do so, because Anaxagoras wasn't there anymore to offer either.

"Ha!" Anaxagoras looked smug. "You did miss me, didn't you?"

"More than I can say." Scylax swallowed, telling himself to exercise some self-control. He wasn't some brazen youth in the grip of his first crush; he was a grown man, a sword dancer and a Magian.

"In that case, those valves can probably wait." Anaxagoras grinned.

Are you sure? Scylax almost asked, but this was Anaxagoras: of course he was sure. "Ah."

Anaxagoras's hands were busy already. "I must say, I did not miss these outlandish clothes you still insist on wearing - what are they called again, pants? Can't imagine those ever catching on. Far too much trouble to get off."

Scylax refrained from pointing out they didn't seem to slow down Anaxagoras much at all.