Impasse

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                          In which our dear friends drink some truly bad coffee

Something cold and wet washed over Freya. It patterned on her head, leaving drops trickling down her sides. Rain.

Freya's eyes flew open- she hadn't realized they were closed. She was standing in the middle of a street. Shops lined the sides, but bike stands, cafe chairs, and sidewalks were woefully empty. "Where are all the humans?" she whispered.

"Mreow," the cat at her feet stared back at her, eyes narrowed almost as if it were angry.

"Sorry, little guy," Freya squatted down beside the creature, her green coat dragging in the gritty water. "I've heard cats don't like water."

"Meow!" You think? Freya was sure it would say if it could talk. Unusually high levels of sass had been detected in cats.

Freya stood up, shivering. "Where's Ale- Alex!"

The woman was laying on the ground, rain soaking her clothes.

"Oh, my," Freya murmured. Her eyes were feebly stirring open, something Freya thought was usually interpreted as a positive sign, but Alex was giving her a death glare, which was, quite plainly, terrifying.

"Are you quite alright?" Freya said anxiously. Alex pushed herself up to a sitting position. The cat hopped on her lap, mirroring the judging glare.

"Hm, let's bring with...What the freaking hell?!" Alex screeched, with surprising volume for someone that had just traveled about a light-year injured.

Freya smiled- she couldn't help it. "Ah, I see. You're using what humans believe is an afterlife built to torture them for their negative actions on Earth as a 'swear word', just like humans! Nicely done."

"No, no, this is not nicely done!" Alex moaned. "I'm going to lose my permit to travel here because of you."

"It's for the greater good. Now, where shall we start?"

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"This is not what I meant," Freya complained.

Alex was sitting across from her at Al's Coffee World, hot chocolate mixed with coffee (an absolutely genius invention) in hand.

"Too bad," Alex offered a piece of a pancake to the cat, who immediately ate it.

Freya glanced around nervously. They had technically broken into the small store, stole their food, and turned on their electricity (humans truly were incredible creatures). Freya shivered. Their coats and Alex's leather jacket were draped over chairs, drying, and in the meantime she was freezing. She didn't understand how Alex was still breathing with only a low-cut white shirt on.

"So- where are we?" Freya asked the ground.

"New York, probably."

"How do you know?" Freya pushed.

"First off, only New York would have so many coffee shops of so low quality. Second, CoVID-19 has hit New York pretty bad, and there's no one on the streets, so it's safe to say they're in self-isolation. Third, the most recent trip to Earth has been to New York- that when the non-existent Healing Center got installed, remember?" Alex shot Freya a glare. "-So that's where the Gate was last set to."

"My turn to ask questions: how did we get here?"

"I...I slammed you against the door. You blacked out, I pushed you through the Gate. I saw them coming, grabbed the cat, and...here we are."

"Brilliant," Alex admitted, and Freya felt her cheeks burn.

"Well," she snarfed through a mouthful of pancake. "It's clear what we have to do now."

"Agreed," Freya said in relief.

"Return immediately and beg for forgiveness," Alex said, at the same time Freya exclaimed: "Track down CoVID-19 and use the abilities we have to protect humans!"

"Well," Alex said stiffly after a slight pause. "It appears we are at an impasse."

"But- I can't do this without your superior experience interacting with humans," Freya protested.

"Superior?" Alex raised an eyebrow.

"You understand my meaning. They might feel threatened by my intelligence. Humans don't take well to things different from them. They're thousands of studies that prove that."

"Meow," the cat said, batting Alex's hand. She paid him no notice.

"Besides, if your primary goal in returning is to place the blame on me, you are going to find that rather difficult without me being present. I am the- shall we say- superior- trouble maker."

Alex sighed. "Superior."

"So, who's right, morally speaking?" Freya pressed onwards, although she was having a most unpleasant sensation in her stomach again. "I am, clearly, because I want to help people and you only want to help yourself."

"Incorrect," Alex waggled a finger at her. "You only want to do this so you can help your beloved pets. They don't need or want your help, making you more selfish than I."

"Mreow!" The cat hissed, knocking over Alex's cup of cocoa.

"Hey!"

"Cats do have unusually high levels of sass, you know."

"Yes, I do," Alex picked up the cup and slammed it onto the table. "They're also the judgest-"

"What?" Freya frowned at Alex, who was now staring, slack-jawed, at the cat. "Oh. It's judgy. As in the representation for the Judge, the being with the most moral in the known universe."

"We need to get it to talk."

"To- talk?"

"So it can tell us which one is right!" Alex turned, eyes shining, towards Freya.

"But- that will just take more time on Earth."

"But if I'm right, and we need to return, we're making the most informed, ethical decision. That's gotta tip points in our favor."

"You want to waste time finding some magical potion that gets a cat to talk so you can keep your permit once you are, inevitably, right," Freya tried her best to layer the sarcasm on thick.

"Exactly. I'm getting more coco," Alex winked and sauntered off to the kitchens.

Freya wouldn't pretend she didn't notice the wink, or the "us." It was easier to pretend she didn't care.

"You're the real trouble maker, aren't you," she sighed to the cat.

The tabby began to purr. 

NA: First off, thank you to everyone who has read this far! I really appreciate it, and your comments make my day.

Secondly,  I gotta ask- who do you think is right? Freya or Alex? What would you do if you were either one of them? I'm excited to read your answers!

~Lyn 

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