Hail and Hart-y

This is a scene from my NaNo that was partly inspired by a photo prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.  It was fun writing about the budding romance between River and Ice.

**

3b7cce5ae2571ce01926f1dfdeae714cThe Hail and Hart-y Soup Shop was a little restaurant that specialized in soups and sandwiches. It had been opened by a pair of former Obrian Agents who were now informants for the Service.

Most people went there for lunch. However, many people enjoyed the soup enough to visit the place for dinner as well. For those people, the restaurant served the soup in large bowls with loafs of fresh, hot peasant bread on the side. It had become Torin’s favorite eatery since his mother’s death, partly because it was so close to his home.

Because of the storm, the place was rather busy. Torin stood near the door with Ice while they waited to be seated. He glanced around at the décor. The corner near the entrance had weathered-looking shades to block out the worst of the weather. Someone, either Hail or Hart, had decided to set up crockery and pitchers, one with flowers set in it. Torin wondered idly where they had flowers that time of year. However, before he could check to see if they were real, the hostess was guiding them to a table in the back corner, near the fireplace.

As they settled down at a table together, Torin gave the menu only the most cursory of glances. He already knew what he wanted. He got the same thing every time he visited. He fully expected that the server would ask him if he wanted his usual order.

A faint smile touched his lips when the young woman who arrived smiled at him. “Pease porridge, right?” she said. When he nodded, she turned to Ice. “And what would you like, Miss?” she asked.

“I’ll have the fish soup, please,” Ice said, her voice soft. As the server took their menus and headed away, Ice turned to Torin. She smiled gently and added, “You really enjoy their pease porridge, don’t you?”

Torin gave a soft chuckle. “It reminds me of… a soup that my mama would make when I was small,” he said. He shook his head. “I tried to follow her recipe a few times over the years, after she’d taken ill, but… it never tasted quite right.”

“That’s the way it often is,” Ice said, nodding. “My mama has a recipe for cookies that… they never taste quite right when I make them for myself, only when she makes them for me.” Torin tensed when Ice mentioned her mother, dropping his gaze to the tabletop. He startled when she set her hand over his. “I shouldn’t have reminded you of your mother,” she said, her voice faint. “I’m sorry.”

“Everything reminds me of her,” Torin said. He looked up to find that he was looking into her eyes. He was surprised by just how close she was. It was the first time he could remember her eyes actually focusing on something. Weak as her vision was, she often had a distant sort of gaze. “You shouldn’t have to apologize for talking about your own mother, Agent Ice.”

She smiled and then settled back in her seat once more. Just then, the server returned with a pot of tea and cups. As she went away once again, Torin poured tea for both of them, setting the cup near Ice’s dominant hand.

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