She watched the changing of the guard with amused disinterest. From her vantage point on the roof of the Porterhouse, she could see the whole length of the wall and the quiet efficiency of the men and women who slid into the places of their fellows at every post along the line. The last watch only relaxed once they had seen their replacements square themselves against their spears, only let out a breath when their replacements had raised their chins to keep watch. She could almost read their thoughts across the air, and her lips twisted father into a smile, as if their straight spines were the iron guard posts that kept everything behind them whole.
When the trap door behind her creaked open, she tilted her head to listen over her shoulder without taking her eyes off the guard. She heard the heavy breath of someone taking the too-large last step up to the roof, the thud of a second foot, the creak and clack of the latch shutting again. She didn’t turn around as the footsteps thunked closer, reverberating in the tiles beneath her. She didn’t even look up when his shadow crossed her, though she flicked a look down at the shape of it.
“What are you doing?” Tallen asked.
She tilted her head, trying to sift the smile out of her tone before she spoke. “Watching.”
Tallen hesitated. “There’s something wrong with you.”
She grinned, barely keeping herself from laughing. “Come on,” she murmured. “There’s just something comforting about seeing them there, so diligently guarding… nothing.” She pulled the package out of the inside pocket of her jacket, and held it above her shoulder for him to take.
He slipped it wordlessly off her palm. His shadow lingered for a moment longer, then slid back. She blinked in the sunlight, and leaned her chin against her fingers.
The guard stood perfectly still.