"Partners" in "Crime"

Scritch . . . Scritch . . . Scritch.
The soft, rhythmic sound perforated the total darkness.
Scritch . . . Scritch . . . Scritch.
"What're you doing?" a voice hissed, cutting through the partial silence.
"Writing," another voice answered casually.
"Writing?! How can you write! It's pitch black in here!"
"Actually, in my experience, pitch is a dark-ish brown-ish."
"Who cares?! The fact of the matter is, that it's totally dark in here, and you are writing."
"Aw, lighten up! It's not that bad in here."
There was a pause.
"Hey, do you wanna write something?"
"No, I do not," the first voice answered stiffly. "I'm not a vandal."
"Neither am I."
There was another pause.
"Not that I care, or anything, but, what're you writing, anyway?"
"Oh. I just finished writing: I was here!"
"Oh, that's nice. Now how do expect anyone to read it?"
"Hmm. That's a good question."
Yet another pause.
"Shikiri, how did we get here, again?" the voice of the one who had been writing questioned.
"You should know," the voice of the one named Shikiri replied. "You got us here, remember?"
"Oh yes, I did, didn't I?"
"Honestly, I can see why the did. The way you were acting . . . XamTam, I think this is developing into a bad habit."
"Oh, don't be such a prune, Riki!" The other one, XamTam, replied. "You've gotta learn how to have some fun!"
"This," Shikiri said dryly, "is fun?"
"No," XamTam replied earnestly. "But, the celebration afterwards is!" She laughed. "I'm gonna teach you how to party like nobody's business!"
"Well, seeing as I've probably got the best teacher there is . . ." Shikiri trailed off, exasperated.
"Darn tootin'! You just leave this to me. I've got it covered," XamTam said, in what was probably supposed to be a soothing tone.
Shikiri sighed. As much as she hated to admit it, her friend probably "had it covered" better than she did.
The two were sitting in a dark cell in the city jail. That was all thanks to XamTam, and her unfortunate hobby of "Boozin' and carousin'". Which, to law enforcement, sounded more like "Disorderly conduct, and disturbing the peace".
XamTam and Shikiri had been two peas in a pod ever since they met each other. Incidentally, neither of them remembered when that was. XamTam had been like an older sister to Shikiri, who had no living family that she knew of. XamTam's family, well, if they weren't in jail, Shikiri didn't really know.
"Don't get me wrong," Shikiri thought as she recalled all of this. "XamTam and her family aren't bad, they just have a knack for getting carried away, and, well, ending up like this."
The door of the cell groaned loudly as it opened suddenly, forcing Shikiri out of her nostalgia.
"Captain's here," a guard said bluntly. His look of disgust showed on his face was conveyed through his tone of voice. It was obvious that he didn't approve of people who'd done anything to land them in a penitentiary. "He will see you now."
"Oh, goody," XamTam leapt up from the spot on the floor where she had been sitting. "Come on," She grabbed Shikiri and pulled her up.
The guard merely grunted, and began to lead the out of the cell.
While his back was turned, XamTam hissed in Shikiri's ear, "Leave the talking to me. You just stand there and look pretty."
"Um . . . Okay . . ." Shikiri whispered back, slightly perturbed by the "looking pretty" comment.

* * *

Nambrus, the captain, looked up from a stack of papers he was revising as he heard a knock on his door. "Come in."
"Sir," a guard, who Nambrus knew as Kasayn, stated as he walked into his office. "These two requested an audience with you."
Nambrus had returned his gaze to his paperwork. "I see," he sighed, "let them in."
"Very well, sir," Kasayn bowed himself out of the room. Soon afterwards, there was the sound of two persons entering the room, and the door closing.
A short silence ensued before the captain looked up again.
"Holy --!" was all Nambrus could think as he looked up at the two prisoners.
The one, a young boy, (or, at least, it looked like a boy) was rather ordinary looking. He - or was it a she? - had a small, round face, framed by short-cropped mouse brown hair. His eyes were large and blue, giving him an innocent appearance. He wore tan corduroy overalls over a cream-colored short sleeved shirt. All in all, the boy (Who had an odd feminine look.) was nothing extraordinary. It was his companion that was the extraordinary one.
She was shapely and most obviously a woman. Her skin very pale, contrasting with her black hair that had purple streaks, no less. She wore her hair in two messy buns held up by suspiciously sharp sticks resembling chopsticks. Her eyes were slanted and cat like. Their color was a dark black, making the pupils undistinguishable. Her lips were full and a deep purple. Around her neck hung a black string, the bauble of the necklace hidden underneath her black and dark purple paisley patterned shirt. Her pants were black as well. A black leather belt adorned her hips; the clasp of the belt was a pretty silver ornament. On her feet were black boots, hidden partially by her pants.
Nambrus had never seen such a woman before, and he was left speechless.
The woman in black approached his desk, while the androgynous one hung back.
The woman flashed Nambrus an award winning smile. "Hello," she said, her voice silky, "my name is XamTam."
"Ah," the captain answered, regaining his ability of speech. "What's your excuse?"
"Excuse?" the one named XamTam looked affronted. "My dear, dear, captain," she explained. "I have no excuse."
"Well, then, if you have no reason, I can't even consider letting you out," Nambrus replied, entertwining his fingers and resting his chin on them.
XamTam raised an eyebrow. "Well, I never said I didn't have a reason. Just no excuses."
Nambrus suppressed a sigh. These convicts were dodgy people. "Fine, let's hear it."
A ghost of a smile flitted across XamTam's face. "You see, captain, this young one's," -- she pulled her companion up next to her - "mother is blind, and with her only child here in jail, she cannot survive!"
Nambrus looked over at the boy. "Is this true, young sir?"
A strange look passed over the boy's face, though it disappeared as soon as it appeared. "Yes, captain."
"You see, erm . . . Riki's mother depends on . . . him, to bring in the income, and such," XamTam added.
"I see," Nambrus leaned back in his chair and it squeaked audibly. "But, you've only given me a reason to let Riki go. What about you?"
"Ah, well," XamTam appeared almost to be smirking, "if Riki were to travel alone, sh - uh, he would be torn apart by bandits, robbers, and other such nuisances. I travel with him as his personal bodyguard."
If the captain had been watching 'Riki', he would have seen the look of disgust that passed over 'his' face.
But, instead, he had closed his eyes and was rubbing his temples. "Alright," he sighed, "I'll let you off. This time."
"Thank you, so much," XamTam answered, giving him a small bow.
Nambrus nodded to Kasayn, who had been standing next to the door the whole time. The guard took a canvas bag off of a hook on the wall, and a sheathed sword that was leaning against the wall; he handed it to the two ex-convicts.
Again, if Nambrus had been more attentive, he would have seen 'Riki' reach for the sword before XamTam snatched it away from 'him'. XamTam bowed again, "Thank you, again. And I'm sure Riki's poor, deaf mother thanks you as well."
"Deaf? Wasn't she blind?" Nambrus asked, genuinely surprised.
"Um . . . no. Just mute," XamTam nervously said. "Well, we must be off. Tata!" With that, she ushered 'Riki' out the door and shut it quickly behind her.
Nambrus stared at the closed door for a minute after the two had left. Finally, tearing his eyes away from the door, he looked at Kasayn. "Oh my, I think I may have made a mistake . . ."
"No kidding," Kasayn thought, though he didn't say anything out loud.

* * *

As soon as they were out of the prison complex, Shikiri let loose.
"He thought I was a boy!" she fumed.
"Aw, come on, Shikiri, he let us out anyway," XamTam said soothingly, handing her friend her broadsword.
"And you!" Shikiri ranted, strapping the sword to her back. "Making me sound like a total weakling!"
"Well, I didn't have much of a choice, now did I?" XamTam coolly replied while pulling dagger after dagger out of the canvas bag and slipping them into unknown hiding places.
"I still can't believe he bought that corny story of yours," Shikiri grumbled crossly, watching her friend reclaim her daggers. XamTam had over 23 daggers, although Shikiri didn't know where she kept them all. That was probably how XamTam was able to write in the cell, it was inevitable that the guards would miss the kunai's in her hair, the dagger strapped to her leg, the one on her necklace, and the ones concealed in her boots. At this moment, XamTam was putting her earrings back in. The guards had confiscated them, despite XamTam's protests. They said they had looked suspicious. Shikiri didn't blame them; she had her own sneaking suspicion that the earrings were actually throwing stars.
"Hey," XamTam appeared to have reclaimed her daggers. "At least we came out of it with a free bag!" She held up the canvas bag that had been holding her daggers.
Shikiri couldn't help but laugh.
The two friends laughed together as they headed to their next unknown destination.

* * *