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((This side-fiction is happening at the same time as ‘Doubling Up, Doubling Down’)) The chill of autumn was in the air, the weaker sunlight fighting a battle against the cold winds promising winter. So far, the remnants of summer were winning, but sooner or later the first frosts would form. Grim thrust his hands into the pockets of his too-large coat, feeling the warmth of the garment keeping the chill breeze at bay. His fingers curled in the pocket, wishing for the reassuring solidity of the Heartwood Stave to lean on, but that was tucked under his bed back home for two reasons. Firstly, carrying a length of black wood around town was not an action calculated to be inconspicuous. And secondly, he needed to walk without aid if his ankle was to get stronger and his limp was going to get any better. So it was that he’d walked downtown rather than hitching a ride, and though his leg was protesting somewhat it was able to bear his weight. He’d focused on walking without limping as the coach had suggested, and had been mostly successful before the exertion started to tell on his damaged nerves, causing his limp to return as he walked the last couple of blocks to his destination. ‘From Dusk Till Pawn’, the sign read in black lettering. The grill-covered window display showed a variety of electronics, jewelry, watches, and curios that the desperate or needy had traded in for cash. Grim, however, was here to buy rather than sell. Given his... limited means it was out of the question for the young man to buy a brand new smartphone or PC, but a second-hand laptop or early-generation touch-screen phone was within his meagre budget. As the door swung shut behind him and the dim electric lighting replaced the weak Salem sunshine, the son of Odin slouched along the displays, hands in his pockets as he browsed.
((This fic is open to all who want to take part and takes place on Saturday afternoon after the Dance. It is assumed there was a band meeting and quick briefing on Saturday morning.)) The sounds of steam, the scent of ground beans and the hubbub of voices were all underscored with gentle acoustic strumming from a solitary guitarist on the raised platform that served the Drip as a stage. It was warm here, an island of pleasant coziness and comfort against the first chill breeze of autumn. Grim sighed softly in relief as he sat down at a vacant table, setting a large mug of black coffee and a brownie in front of him as he shucked out of his overcoat, a blue duster that seemed a size or two large for his still-slender frame. Slender but solid, he'd realised when showering after his swim earlier. As part of his physical therapy to help regain more mobility in his leg, the scion of Odin had been mandated a daily swim by Coach Fingers in addition to hikes, combat training, and a confidence course he had to run once a week. Fingers was not the coddling sort, and Grim was grateful for it. He'd berate a student who didn't give 100%, but if you did give your all and still failed, he'd just nod and say "Again." Or if you were wiped out, he'd simply say "Hit the showers, and do better tomorrow." Under the regimen of exercise, Grim was not only recovering full use of his leg, he was getting stronger than he'd previously thought possible, though how much of that was his Aesir blood was hard to say. He still looked like he was made of coathangers, a condition exacerbated by the too-large second-hand clothing he wore, but Grim was enough of a young man to take some pride that he was growing out as well as up. Now, though, he was just glad to be sitting down with a warm cup of coffee. Pulling a book borrowed from Mr Syracuse from his bag, he flipped it open and settled in to read, now and then sipping from his mug as his mismatched eyes scanned the pages. There was a lot to catch up on, not just the year and a half of school he had missed, but the fact that all the legends and myths were, if not wholly true, then at least true enough to kill you if you were ignorant of them. The school was less of an issue - his mind had always been keen, but the ichor of Odin running through his veins now made schoolwork trivial. He paused for a moment, eyes not reading the words in front of him as he was lost in thought. Family. An odd thought, to have family. For years that word had been associated with a bitter old man who hated the sight of him. Now family meant having a sprawling array of larger-than-life, honest to goodness gods expecting great things of him. It was a step up, in many ways. Giving a rare, thin smile, Grim took a bite of brownie and went back to his book.