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Not gonna lie, seeing that you wrote a fic for Shadow and Bone was one of the reasons I finally started watching. It's been on my to-do list for ages and I'm glad I did, so thanks!
this paragraph kept getting better and better (i'm a little late, oops). and the last bit of part 4 was adorable and so in-character
I love how vulnerable Kaz is in the most recent part, from recognizing his own feelings to caring for Jesper. Everything about him and Jesper is perfect
Thanks so much for the comments, @PetalPunk! It makes my day to hear about your favorite parts from each installment.
Yeah, he is rather yummy and miserable, isn't he? I tried to hit that sweet spot of "constantly complaining and a little needy but also feeling very genuinely awful" - I thought it was a good fit for Jesper, plus it was ideal for bringing out the others' reactions (Inej sympathetic but teasing, Kaz annoyed and impatient.)
Here's Part 5!
Kaz woke in the darkness to a sharp pain shooting up his leg. By now, he was accustomed enough to this sensation that he made no noise beyond a low grunt. Breathing through the painful spasms, he pushed himself up to a sitting position, stretching his leg out in front of him.
No good; he wouldn’t make this abate by just flexing his toes. Kaz reached for his cane and staggered to his feet, endeavoring to get out of the inn without the creaking floorboards beneath his every step waking everyone around him.
Outside, the night air was cool and clear. Kaz hobbled slowly forward, trying to stretch the spasm out of his leg. Not wanting to draw anyone’s attention when he was like this, he kept to the shadows, a limping phantom just out of sight.
A sneeze broke the quiet of the night, a wet-sounding “haaahhhh-CHOOOO!”, and Kaz swallowed a sigh as he realized he would have recognized it anywhere. His eyes scanned the darkness as he followed the sound to Jesper around the corner, sitting with his back against the side wall of the inn. He had a bottle of spirits by his side – liberated from the kitchen, if the jimmied-open window above his head was any sort of clue – and the glass he held sloshed a bit as he buried another “hihhh-TSCHIUHHHH!” in his handkerchief.
Kaz was still for a moment, biting back the exclamation prompted by his protesting leg. Then, in a moment of decision, he limped toward Jesper, who was coughing hard into the back of his hand.
“You should be in bed,” Kaz said. Not trusting his leg to bend at this point, he opted not to sit alongside his friend but stood over him, leaning on his cane as if in a casual stance.
Jesper, sniffling into his handkerchief, gave Kaz a sidelong look. “I cad’t sleep,” he croaked. “Add before you ask, yes, I have beed trying.” He took a wincing swallow from his glass and sniffled again, sputtering into another cough. “I thought a dridk bight help, relax be a little.”
There was a reason Inej handled these sorts of things and not Kaz. He let out a brief sigh. “What’s the problem?” he asked in resignation, trying to rub his leg discreetly.
Jesper pressed his glass to his forehead, and Kaz noticed that, despite sitting outside on a cool night in his shirtsleeves, his friend’s hair was damp with perspiration. “I feel achy add out of sorts,” Jesper complained. “Add by cough is keeping be up.” His breath started to hitch, and he lifted his handkerchief to his face. “ehhhh… huhhh-ihhhhhh-shiuuhhhhh!”
Kaz fought the urge to grimace. As much as Jesper’s whining could irritate him, Kaz had to admit a certain level of envy. Jesper had an undeniable vain streak and wasn’t above a heaping portion of bravado, but there was an openness to him, an honesty that Kaz could never manage. Kaz couldn’t imagine himself coming to Inej when his leg pained him, could never rest his head on her shoulder to let her know he needed her. But Jesper could, the lucky bastard.
It was the eyes, Kaz reasoned, those large eyes that couldn’t keep a secret if they tried. Even when Jesper lied, which he did well, he lied with an air that made it seem as though he was really giving everything away. All right for some, folks who can own up to their hurts.
Kaz sighed again (he wasn’t always such a misery, he swore.) “Wait here,” he told Jesper, and, bending his knee a few times to be sure his leg wouldn’t give out on him, he clambered through the open window and ducked into the kitchen, seeking out the necessities for a slight but effective remedy.
When Kaz returned to the window, he thrust his hand out first, offering Jesper a glass. “Here,” he ordered, and Jesper reached up to take it from him so Kaz could climb back out. When Jesper made to take a drink, Kaz said, “No!”, more sharply than he meant to. “It’s for gargling, not drinking,” he added in explanation. Jesper considered for a moment, sniffling, then shrugged and tipped his head back to gargle from the saltwater solution Kaz had brought him.
By the time Kaz was back on his feet, his leg was tingling with pins and needles, the usual crescendo to the spasms that seized him at odd times. As he stretched his leg, bending each joint slowly and deliberately, he was glad that Jesper was distracted by the saltwater.
Finally, the pain subsided and Kaz could stand without wincing. “I thought if your throat was a bit less swollen, it might not feel so irritated,” he explained, his voice slightly weak from the ordeal.
Jesper spat a mouthful of saltwater onto the ground and nodded. “Thadks,” he replied. He gargled another mouthful. “What are you doing out here addyway?”
“Stargazing,” Kaz said flippantly.
Jesper let out a ghost of a laugh, then cleared his throat to ward off further coughing. “Fide,” he said with an air of acceding. “ahhhhh… huhhhhh…” With his drink in one hand and his saltwater in the other, he dropped his head between his knees and directed his sneeze toward the ground. “aaahhhhh-shoooooo!”
“Right then,” Kaz said. “I’ll… leave you to it.” He turned to head back inside, then paused, calling back, “Don’t stay long. It’s cold out.”
“Right, boss,” Jesper replied, sounding tired and yielding but just slightly cheeky. As Kaz walked away, stepping carefully so as not disrupt the uneasy truce he’d reached with his leg post-spasm, he heard his fellow Crow continuing to gargle.
Thanks for the awesome feedback, you guys are too sweet to me! No clue when I’m going to write more fics like this, but until then you might like this fic that I wrote back in 2017. Same vibe for sure + unspecified gender in this one as well. Enjoy!