Archive | December 20, 2011

The Unexpected gift, a story of Stranded World/Autumn for the Giraffe Call

For rix_scaedu‘s prompt.

Stranded world, after the Thanksgiving stories of recent.

Autumn’s mother greeted them warmly, hugging Gregor as if he was her own son, which, considering how often he showed up at family events, he might as well be. “Merry Christmas, Gregor. Merry Christmas, Autumn. Two holidays in a row! Truly I’m blessed.”

“Thank you, Mom.” Autumn smiled uncertainly at her mother’s effluvient happiness. “Summer said she wasn’t coming home for this one…?”

“Neither Summer nor Winter, but Spring will be home soon with her young man. I put your mail on your bed, honey.”

“Mail?” She blinked. “It came here and not my drop box? I’m sorry, Mom, I tried to get everything routed so it didn’t bother you…”

“Autumn, Autumn, helping out my daughter doesn’t bother me. Any of my daughters. It was just a couple things, anyway.”

“Thanks, Mom.” Feeling guilty, embarrassed, AND curious all at once, Autumn glanced at Gregor.

“I’ve seen your bedroom, Autumn. I’ve slept in your bedroom.”

“Shh, don’t tell my Mom,” she joked, winking at her mother. “I’ve sort of dying to see what this is,” she apologized.

“You and me both, darling.”

The mail was mostly prosaic – junk mail, a high school reunion letter, a mis-mailed bill. The small box, however, caught her eye, and she nearly opened it without reading the wrapping.

There was no return address, simply a postmark – Tucson, Arizona. She knew that handwriting, though, knew it better than she knew his voice.

“Tattercoats,” she whispered. “He always leaves things in the drops.”

“Maybe he didn’t want to risk it getting into the wrong hands?” Gregor offered.

“But what…” She opened the package with numb fingers. The box inside was no more explanatory, a simple carved box like you could buy in fairs and fests across the land. Her hands barely worked as she opened the small thing.

The paper was on top, and for a moment she was afraid this was a cruel joke, a prank of Tattercoats. He’d done small things of that sort before. She opened the paper without looking underneath, willing her fingers to feel again. Willing her heart to beat.

My Lady Fall, my Autumn Leaf.

I am a coward, and so a coward you find me, mailing this to your mother’s home rather than bringing it to you, sending you this instead of a ring that you so deserve, mailing you this instead of appearing, myself, with an apology. For an apology this is, and a hope that, after my dreadful behaviour, you may still consider me,

Your Bard for now and always,


She stared at the pendant, worked in gold, worked to look like one of her own trees, a ruby nestled in its trunk, its branches reaching up to hold the chain. “Bastard,” she whispered, her eyes wet with tears. She’d almost managed to walk away.

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Family at Christmastime, a story of #Addergoole for the Giraffe Call – @theladyisugly

For TheLadyisUgly’s prompt. This is set in the Addergoole ‘verse, whose landing page is here on DW & here on LJ.

Christmas Eve, Year 5 of the Addergoole School

The halls were quiet; it was, Yngvi mused, almost like the school was normal. Almost. He’d talked Ayla into an hour of hanging out, just the two of them, although it had been hard to pry her away from Io. The two were a beautiful couple; maybe some day…

He swallowed the sigh. Today should not be about angst, and there was enough to be happy about. “I’ve never had a sister before,” he told Ayla awkwardly, as they made their way into the tinsel-hung grotto.

“You have,” she teased. “From the sounds of it, lots and lots of sisters. And brothers.”

“And nieces and nephews,” he shook his head. “Our dear father seems to be both ancient and prolific.”

“Well, you’ll never be without family, then. Neither of us will. That’s kind of nice.”

“It is,” he agreed quietly. “That’s part of what I wanted to talk about.”

“Yeah?” She looked at him crookedly.

VI took a deep breath. “Okay, I have a feeling I’ll be making this promise a lot over the next four years, but here goes. I promise you, Ayla, that no matter happens, no matter who shows up in my life or yours, if you need me, all you have to do is tell me that, and I’ll help you out, whatever I can do.”

The air rippled and settled around them with the promise, and his sister blinked back tears. “Oh, Vi!” She hugged him tightly against her. “Vi… I promise the same. I’ll always be there for you!”

Christmas Eve, Year 25 of the Addergoole School (2019, 8 years after the apocalypse began)

“How do you think they’re doing?” Signy murmured, clutching her mug of cocoa.

“They’ll be fine,” Yngvi reassured her – reassured all of them, really, sitting around the café pretending their children weren’t all in prison for the holidays.

“I thought they’d come home for Christmas,” Ayla murmured. She’d been the one to make the call, this year, although usually it was Ein or Signy. It was always one of them, his Addergoole sisters, every Christmas Eve since 2003 (and they had quite a few to choose from).

“Even when they’re not Kept, they usually don’t,” Rory murmured; Callie’s kids were older than any of theirs, and so he’d gone through this before. “It gets weird, you remember, trying to shift between the real world and Addergoole.”

“But they’re my babies,” Ayla murmured. “Ni came home last year.”

“Only because your threatened to disown her if you didn’t get to meet your grandbaby,” Vi reminded her. “And it’s not that safe to travel anymore, Ay, you know that.”

“Yeah,” Signy murmured. “They’ll be fine.” She took a deep breath. “Think of it this way, guys. We always had each other. There was never a year when we didn’t have a brother or sister – or both – there to watch our backs. And our kids? Exponentially more family than we had.”

That got a smile from Aelgifu. “Indeed,” Yngvi smiled. “Our kids will always be there for each other, too.”

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