Horsepersons fic: War's in a bit of a slump, and Pollution helps her out of it. Implied War/Pestilence.
War's in a bit of a slump, and even Guernica blowing up around her isn't helping. Written for a 500-word secrets challenge.
Disclaimer: Pratchett and Gaiman's. So very not mine.
She's trying - really, she is - but she just feels too empty to get any real work done. Sure, there's chaos everywhere, but the last thing she feels like doing is enjoying a job well done.
Which is why she's sitting outside at a hotel in Guernica on a deck chair, with a bottle of wine (red, of course) that isn't enough to erase the emptiness.
She feels his presence before she sees him, or even hears the planes that herald his appearance today. He's leaning in the doorway behind her. He has to be; there's a concentration of messiness back there. Most people never notice it, but War is not most people.
"Thought you'd be around here," he says, needlessly announcing his presence. "You're really doing a number on this place."
"That's what happens when you get civil wars going," she replies halfheartedly, taking another swig of the wine. Pollution sits down on the deck chair next to hers, concern flickering through his dull gray eyes.
"You all right?"
"Yes. No. Hell, I don't know. Nothing's really helping - the chaos, the wine, any of it. Don't know how much more talking could do." It's meant to be a dismissal, but like most things she's done lately, it lacks punch.
"Then look at it as the concern of a coworker."
She raises an eyebrow, hands him a fresh bottle of wine (white, in this case), and starts her story as the first of the planes arrives. "Someone told me to choose my battles once, a few centuries ago. Good advice for anyone else, I guess, except all the battles are mine. If I decide I want someone else to win, all I have to do is shift my support. I've never had anything at stake, until..."
He can guess, and attempts to while she gets her nerve up. He only met Pestilence the one time, shortly before all that fuss with the penicillin and the retirement. He was a nice enough fellow, if a bit too certain of his job security, and it had never occurred to Pollution that those two were... together, so to speak. Though looking back on it, it certainly made sense.
"Until the retirement incident," she continues, confirming his thought process. "I mean, nothing personal, you're incredibly good at this line of work-" a bomb landing on the previously peaceful town punctuates that statement "-but it's just not the same, you know?"
"You're coping with a loss, then. And since you've never had to before, you've been in a slump since 1936 and you don't know how to break out."
"That about sums it up."
"Tell you what," he says after a moment. "You seem to have a nice racket going over in Germany. I'm sure if given enough of a push, that Hitler fellow could give you another world war."
A smile lights up War's face for the first time in quite a while. "Thanks for the suggestion. If you'll excuse me, I'll invesigate the possibilities."