I believe (@inventrix’s suggestion) that Diarmaid is Mabina-and-Cassidy’s daughter born after school. This puts this around year 26-28).
The natives – or at least the house-guests – were getting restless, and Diarmaid was running out of things to distract them with. Edelin had headed out to the Store “just to pick something up” over an hour ago, and hadn’t been seen nor heard from since. Solange had told them she’d be along later, and never shown up. And a peek outside still showed the halls to be loud, dark, and entirely creepy.
Diar’s parents had been frustratingly close-lipped about the school, but her older brother and sister had told her two things when they came home last summer: “Remember, you’re a cook, not a fighter,” and “if everything looks like it’s going handbasket-y, close your door and don’t let anyone in.”
Looking ruefully around her packed room, Diar decided she listened just about as well as everyone else in her family. Every friend she’d made in two weeks here at Addergoole – except Edelin and Solange – was crowded in here, eating her shepherd’s pie and playing whatever games they could think up.
Flurry, however, was staring at the door thoughtfully. “My room’s just across the pod, Diar,” he wheedled.
“And it might as well be on the moon, Flurry. You are staying right here where you are. Here, have some cake, why don’tcha.”
“Where did you come up with cake?”
“Leftovers, of course. It’s fine, Tony ate two pieces and didn’t fall over.”
“I trust you. And it’s not…” he paused to swallow the cake nigh-on-whole “…that I don’t like your company, Diar. I’d like a lot more of it, maybe in a less crowded situation.”
“And I’m sure you would, my dear, but that’s not today.” And maybe not any day. Her Cohort, or the boys, at least, seemed so young.
“It’s really not,” he agreed. “But I don’t need a babysitter.”
“Of course you don’t, and I’m not sitting not babying you. If you want to go out into the loud fuss and muss, well, you’re an adult now, aren’t you? I just worry.” She was, she knew, channeling her mother. She was also genuinely worried.
“I’m an adult,” he agreed, not entirely certainly, but studying her expression, he nodded again, a little firmly. “You don’t have to look after me, Diar. I can handle myself.”
Gods save us from boys who want to be men. “Then go, Flurry. I’m not stopping you.” Come back with your shield… Down, girl. He’s not yours to send off to battle. But send him off she did, holding the door open for him.
Flury was barely halfway across the dark pod when something with far too many arms grabbed him, pulling him up into mid air. Diar, pretending she wasn’t standing in her open door watching, gasped and slapped her hands over her mouth. Too late; all of her guests were watching over or around her shoulders now.
“Let me go!” Flurry gasped, struggling, and then really fighting in earnest, pushing against the arms. The air was getting colder and colder, or was that just her nerves? Diar hugged herself tightly, staring at her friend.
It was only in staring that she managed to notice when he went from a short stocky boy to an icicle, the icicle slipping to the ground in, unsurprisingly, a flurry of ice and snow. But he was still there, at the center of the storm, blue and freezing, and the octopus-squid thing was grabbing for him.
Channeling her mother like never before, Diarmaid snapped out into the pod. “Flurry sh’Eirlys, you get back in here this instant.”
She was happily surprised when that worked, and the storm bowled her over in returning over her threshold. Staring down where she thought the octopus’ eyes were, she informed it calmly, “This is my family.”
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