Too close to passing out. Words in tongues he was supposed to have fluttered around him. The gasps of getting discovered. The confusion as to why he found home within the floor. The conversations between friends as footsteps thudded towards his sunken body. What else? He blinked to get himself steady enough to sit up.
A hand was outstretched to him. Fluttery white fabric, draping sleeves, bone white smile. “Dima’s getting you water,” the boy said. And as Hymir gingerly placed his hand in the one in front of him and awkwardly stood up, Levin’s voice in the back of his mind screamed and scolded, because if Dimitri Jones was out of the current picture, then this was Pallas Lykadion, the Crown Prince of Greece, the person Levin wanted on the throne by the end of the month.
Pallas was suspected to have his kindness extended past the closed doors that stopped the media from knowing everything. He was a little taller than the twins, a rough 177 to their 171 (which was nothing on Hymir’s height), clothes loose enough to disguise his body. Flakes of red in light brown hair that showcased dark green eyes. Or were they blue? The longness of his nose and the thinness of his lip faded out as Hymir tried to figure out the color of the eyes. Not that it was important. But the room was cold, and he wanted to bask in it for as long as possible.
“Here,” the other person said, handing a small glass of clear liquid over. Hymir did not sniff it before slamming it down his throat. Levin could beat him up if he lived past this night. “We’re not supposed to help kidnappers, but you’re really struggling. Don’t tell anyone though.”
Dimitri didn’t have a profile. He was Pallas’s childhood best friend. His Yiayia owned a farm. He worked as a stable boy when he wasn’t with Pallas. Never alone. Even on the way between places, his arms were always full with self imposed chores. He only participated in one interview, where he said that the Lykadion’s liked hard work and he liked them.
His public smile was that of innocence, of an honest enjoyment in helping others. In the pale light of Pallas’s bedroom, the corners of his mouth were turned down, his bottom lip slightly out, eyebrows scrunched as he tied his locs out of his face. At least someone else could feel the outside’s heat, however meager it might be in the room. “What are you doing here?” he asked as a statement, and Hymir felt as if he needed another glass before thinking about talking.
But nothing would ever go the way he wanted. He thought of all the times he’d practiced his Greek in front of Peter and hoped that his voice didn’t sound strange as when Peter tried to copy it. “My name is Hymir Levinsson,” he said, the truth sliding out the way it was cursed to, “I was sent for an assassination.”
To Hymir’s surprise, Pallas rolled his eyes. “Duh.” Dimitri fake coughed into his hand to hide his smile. “It’s always assassinations or kidnapping.” Pallas made a noise of annoyance, like this type of event was common. It was hard to tell who was talking. They sounded nothing alike. “We’re supposed to interrogate you before killing you.”
Hymir leapt back, armed with his knife and a glass. “I wasn’t supposed to kill you!”
Dimitri laughed as he walked over to the side of the bed, returning with a bow and a quiver full of arrows. How had Hymir not clocked that? “It’s not like you can call the cops without omitting details. Who sent you?”
Hymir raised his hands. “What’s a cop?” Pallas’s eyebrows furrowed. Hymir opened his hands. He was shitty at throwing things. It would be a miracle if he hit anything he deemed a target. Spells? Nothing good for stealth, not without looking at his tomes and prepping. The best bet at getting out of this would be a distraction and immense speed in knocking these guys out. It wasn’t his strong suit, but with his spear presumably still stuck to the wall outside, it was the only shot he had.
The glass shattered, fragments of minor reflections raining onto the rug. Dimitri knocked another arrow, not taking his twitching eye off of Hymir’s face. “You’re making us look bad.”
“He wants a treaty.” They turned to look at Pallas, who was walking to Hymir’s side as if nothing was wrong. “Are you the one from Iceland or Norway? Or was it Sweden?” Silence wrapped them. “I gave you a way out,” Pallas continued, “Take it.”
“Iceland.” It burned Hymir’s throat.
“I’m guessing west side. What’s it called? Larbaek? That feels right.” Pallas looked over at Dimitri, who was looking back and forth between the two, baffled. “It’s okay. He’s a friend. On a technicality.” Hymir was going to be sick. Details that were meant to be secret solely because there was no one to tell them too… cast openly like everything was fine. Nothing was fine. He’d been caught within the first hour of his first solo mission, and it felt like everything was falling apart.
The arrow dipped. Not pleasantly. “So,” Pallas went on, “Which one sent you: Kristen or Kap- Kapi- I’m blanking.”
“Kapitola?” Pallas nodded. Hymir shook his head, but his mother’s name still lingered under his tongue. “Levin. Her husband.”
“We don’t like him,” Dimitri said, taking a few steps closer.
Hymir nodded furiously. “I don’t like him either! But if I don’t do what I came here to do, he’ll kill my brothers. Probably not slowly.” It hurt closing his eyes. It would always hurt to close his eyes until Levin was far gone. His throat was too tight. “I don’t want to do this. My hands are tied.”
The door flew open. Hymir refused to look away from Pallas, the more emotionally vulnerable of the two. It didn’t matter how he knew things about Hymir. Getting him to convince Dimitri to back off and getting that treaty was more important than looking at the door. Unless the door revealed all of the guards Hymir should have run into by now.
“It’s Pater,” a single voice in the doorway said softly. “He’s ending.”