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Blink and You'll Miss It

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It only took a few tries for Khadgar to realize that while the Blink spell was useful, the sensation that came after the spell was unpleasant enough that it almost canceled out the incantation's usefulness.

He'd found the spell in one of the books he'd borrowed from Stormwind's library; he knew the spell existed, but the precise wording of it had never been part of his research. Then again, before a few months ago, Khadgar hadn't imagined ever being in the heat of battle and needing a quick escape from danger. As the Guardian Novitiate, he'd always imagined his inevitable role being more... advisory. The Kirin Tor rarely dirtied their hands with fighting, so why would the Guardian? Then, that lack of concern for the non-magical citizens of Azeroth became one of Khadgar's biggest reasons for breaking his oath, and he assumed he'd have an extraordinarily boring life, until the scent of the Fel had shaken him to action, and everything had changed.

Now he was in Stormwind while the Council of Six tried to decide what to do next. With Medivh gone, Khadgar was the obvious choice to replace him as Guardian, but it wouldn't look good for the Council to ask him to take on the role after he renounced his vow, and all the problems with the Kirin Tor that made Khadgar leave Dalaran in the first place still existed. So, until anyone could figure out what to do, Khadgar had accepted the Queen's gracious offer of a room in Stormwind Keep and unrestricted access to the library, in exchange for Khadgar's guidance as Lothar dealt with the Orcs.

It hadn't taken long for Khadgar to realize that he had no place in the war room--he hoped to be a strategist someday, but he certainly wasn't one now--but he could make up for that by being useful at Lothar's side, and his side was the only place Khadgar could imagine being. The fight against the Orcs was turning into a war of attrition on both sides, and the Alliance was losing more and more of their best soldiers every day. Khadgar did not want to think about what things would be like without Lothar to guide the Alliance... or what he would be like without Anduin's friendship as the weight of potential Guardian-ship hung over his head.

For now though, Khadgar's thoughts were focused on memorizing the incantation on the paper in front of him, and trying not to lose the small dinner he'd eaten as his stomach rolled every time he Blinked down the hallway and back. The spell itself was effective, but it took him a moment to get his bearings once he was still again, and all he could do was hope that would pass with time. If nothing else, he had to memorize the spell first, to be certain he could use it at a moment's notice if he ended up in trouble.

He Blinked back and forth a few more times in the hallway outside his room, his focus narrowed on memorization and recitation, and he nearly collided with the wall when he unexpectedly had to dodge a serving girl coming down the hall. He turned around quickly, trying to reduce his recovery time, but that sent him even further off course and when he cast the spell this time, he Blinked past the girl through the doorway she had just opened--

--and right into Anduin's room. For a moment, Khadgar couldn't move, partly because casting the spell so quickly in succession had left him slightly drained of mana, and partly because he was frozen in surprise at the sight in front of him. Lothar had clearly been in the bathing tub for a while; his skin was glistening with a sheen of water, and his hair hung in damp curls around his face. His legs were spread over the edge of the tub, creating puddles of water under his feet, and his face held an expression of bliss as his arm moved below the surface of the water--until he opened his eyes and saw Khadgar, and jumped in surprise.

"What the--Khadgar?" Lothar said, staring at him.

Khadgar opened his mouth to say something, anything that might be remotely apologetic, but all he could think to do was turn around and recite the spell again, causing him to Blink forward... right into the door the serving girl had so helpfully closed behind him.

He wasn't sure how much time had passed when he opened his eyes, but Lothar was out of the tub, with a broad, soft piece of cloth wrapped around his waist as he patted Khadgar on the cheek. "Knocked yourself out pretty well there, huh Bookworm?" Lothar said. "Did your spellbook not give a warning about trying to go through solid objects?"

Khadgar groaned as he sat up, letting his sight linger on Lothar's bare legs before focusing on his face and rubbing his own sore cheek. "I thought the door was still open. I mean, it was supposed to be closed. Before I came in. I wasn't--I didn't mean to intrude, I swear."

Lothar laughed, and Khadgar said a silent prayer that he didn't seem to be upset by Khadgar's interruption. "It's all right. I needed a little extra amusement this evening."

Khadgar thought about how long Lothar's day had likely been, meeting with leaders from the other kingdoms and trying to foster trade and battle agreements that would not drain Stormwind of its already sparse resources. Lothar deserved a night of solitude and respite, and Khadgar tried not to think of the mood he might have ruined as he stood up. "I'm sorry," he said, unsure of what else to do but apologize. "I'll just see myself out. I'll, uh, see you in the morning?"

"Yes, I'll see you then--unless, of course, you'd like to join me," Lothar said, heading back for the tub with a grin on his face. "They brought me enough warm water for two."

Khadgar gaped at Lothar for a moment before shutting his mouth, completely lost for words. He whirled around as Lothar loosened the cloth from his waist, turning toward the door just in time to hear Lothar step back into the tub. The man lived to unnerve him and ruffle his feathers, that was the only explanation Khadgar could imagine as he slipped back into the hallway, Lothar's amused laughter ringing through the wood of the door.

He'd had enough practice for one night, Khadgar was certain of that as he returned to his room and closed and locked the door. Perhaps laying down in his bed would calm his stomach, and his thoughts. He was going to have a long night ahead of him if he couldn't quiet them both.