Let’s Not Place Blame – Flash Fiction

*Pax is a sucker for getting caught up in Aide’s schemes.*

“Here we are… again,” Pax grumbled.

Aide offered a sheepish smile but said nothing.

“I should never have let you convince me into another of your stupid fucking schemes!” Pax surged to their feet, redundant in the small space that forced them to bend lest their head clunk against the ceiling. They sank back down on the bench with Aide, wrapping their arms around their middle instead. “I was perfectly happy where I was.”

“You were bored, though,” Aide said.

“That’s none of your business. It doesn’t matter if I was bored or if I was quite happy living my stupid little life where I go to the farmers market every weekend and the takeout people know me by name.”

“Real name?”

“Of course not my real name. As long as you’re not involved I actually have a lock of sense. Fuck, Aide, this is serious shit. Again! And I’m knee deep in it with you and why?”

“Because the loot was worth it?”

The loot. Aide and the loot. The promise of it. The hope of it. It was a life-changing amount. But it always was. Risk vs reward had never been Pax’s forte. “Because you do this to me. You convince me into things. I don’t know if you manipulate me on purpose, or if I’m conditioned into it, or if I’m just that stupid. But you rock up and say your pretty words and the risks seem so tiny in comparison to the bounty, to you.”

Aide looked away, down at xyr boots.

Pax lowered their head into their hands.

“Sorry,” Aide muttered, no sign of anything resembling a smile on xyr face now, sheepish or otherwise. Xyr voice was soft.

Guilt tugged at Pax.

 “I really did think you were bored. I can’t imagine ever settling down like that and I just… I always assume you’re just like me.”

“You’ve never tried settling—”

“Pax, don’t start with that. I’m not for it. Just because it works for you, apparently…” Aide sighed again.”I’ll do what I can to get you back there.”

“That’s not what I’m…”

Aide’s hand slapped over Pax’s mouth.

Footsteps sounded outside the tiny room.


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