Archive | January 2012

“Are We Killing This One?” More of the Story of Addergoole Post-Apoc (@inventrix @cluudle)

Warnings on this snippet: Implied abuse, implied rape, death threats, mind control.

In the series with:
Separation Anxiety (LJ) Boom!/RP timeline/ Cynara
Parting Advice, and Mother Bears (LJ)
Mother-Son Bonding (LJ)
Kept du Jour (LJ) in the Boom!/RP timeline. I believe this is part three of four four of five five of MANY.

She had never, Cya noted dispassionately, seen someone fight so hard against her mind control. Well, there had been Pelinore, but that had been physical Workings against the car. She’d learned, after him. Panlong, in the back seat, was barely moving, trembling with the effort.

She glanced over at Yoshi, to find him looking at their captive thoughtfully. “I think he thinks I want revenge,” he told Cya, rather flatly.

That stopped Pan dead. “Revenge? Yoshi, what? I didn’t…”

“Except when Tethys sent me to you,” Yoshi answered sharply. “Then you sure as hell did.”

Cya felt her claws digging into the steering wheel. Shit. If she didn’t kill this kid, she was going to have to Keep him to keep Yoshi’s father, her crew, or both, from killing him. “Yoshi,” she interrupted slowly, “are we killing this one?”

“What?” the boy yelped, trying very, VERY hard to move now. “Okay, okay, Keep me. I can handle being under the collar again, but come on, Yoshi. You never said no. I thought…” He slumped against the back seat.

Her son sighed. “No, Mom. I mean, I want to poke him with a stick a bit. Maybe kick him a few times. He’s kinda naive, but Tethys had him good and brainwashed. He doesn’t deserve to die for being stupid.”

“I thought…” Pan repeated woefully.

“Tethys,” Yoshi bit off tersely, “did not encourage complaint. Or bad moods. Or the concept of saying ‘no’ to anything. You were under her collar, Pan. You should have known what it was like.”

The boy couldn’t slump any lower, but he was trying. “You seemed so happy,” he muttered. “I was never that happy when I was under her collar.”

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Digging in the History, a continuation of Fae Apoc for the Giraffe Call (@inventrix)

For The [personal profile] inventrix‘s commissioned prompt, a continuation of Scrounging for History (LJ), Part 1 of… probably 7.5

Fae Apoc has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

“Let’s explore a little before we get the whole company,” Dor urged. “Maybe not a lot, but let’s at least tell them what we’re looking at.”

“Besides,” Amalie added, then paused, hummed for a moment, and said again, her voice a half-octave lower and more reasonable sounding, “besides, Karida, maybe there are food supplies here, if it’s a settlement?”

Their logic was sound, and the older members of the company wouldn’t accuse Dor of being flighty, a dreamer, the way they liked to with Karida. “All right,” she agreed. “I think we can look a little bit further before we go back. But if we run into anything dangerous…”

“We know the drill, Kara.” Dor rolled his eyes, and followed her around the corner of the building. “Do you think anyone’s still living there? Or anything?”

“We’ve never seen a city this intact. It’s hard to tell.” That was the safe answer. Inside, she was trying not to bounce up and down: a city! We found a real city! And there’s a real sky-trapper, two of them! This will be The Story! This will be My Story! Reluctantly, as Amalie hummed behind her, she amended Our Story.

The next building had the bottom parts of its walls intact, as well as a full foundation, and part of a floor. Karida spent a moment staring at it, at the sheered-off nature of the structure, tracing the line down. “There really were dragons,” she murmured, “or something huge. They knocked off,” she drew a line in the air with her hand.

Amalie hummed again. “The monster’s claw was cutting still…”

“…through the years and through the houses?” Dor offered.

“Doesn’t scan right. The monster’s claw had cut through time, through… cut through years, through the city’s long-shed tears.”

“That doesn’t mean anything,” Dor complained. Karida, who did not sing, kept quiet. Amalie would get the song right.

It was up to her to get the now of it proper, so they had a song to sing and a throat to sing it with. She stepped into the basement, carefully dancing down the stairs. In smaller settlements, they had found food – but they had also found monsters, demons, feral humans, and sometimes just corpses. Lots of people, she thought, hadn’t made it out in time. Centuries later, they were still entombed, rotting slowly away in their homes.

“It must have been horrible,” Amalie whispered. “When the monsters flew.”

“They still fly,” Dor countered. “They just aren’t as many.”

“I’ve never seen one.”

“With luck,” Karida interrupted, “you never will. They’re not nice things.” She was stretching her senses ahead of her, feeling out the space. There were three rooms down here, some old metal things, a small puddle of water and… “Dor,” she warned.

He nodded, and gestured Amalie back to look-out position, before drawing his two wakizashi and following Karida down the stairs. “Do you know?” he asked tersely.

“Not yet.” Her senses told her life, and general size, but that was it. Something the size of a human could be a bear, or a monster, or a person. She stepped into the dark, holding her staff in front of her.

Continued in: Delving in History (LJ)

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Tea With /Her/, further continued, a story of Tir na Cali for the Giraffe Call (@dahob)

For @daHob’s prompt, in continuation of:
Tea with HER (beginning) (LJ)
Tea with HER (continuation) (LJ)
Tea with HER (continuation 2) (LJ)

Tir na Cali has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

I really wanted to send him back.

I was in no mood to play. I had been mourning my mother for a week, for three years before that bracing for her death, and I was exhausted and staring at the Barony that was now mine, trying to figure out what I was doing with my life.

“Go home,” I told him, not really meaning it.

He quailed, swallowed, and said, in a voice that squeaked with nerves, “Forgive me, Baroness Treanna, but Her Ladyship told me to inform you that if I was to returned, it would be by your hand, or she would consider me a runaway.” He gulped. “I really don’t want that, ma’am.”

I looked him over. His accent was East-coast, southern from the sounds of it. He had freckles and a fading tan; he’d been kept indoors for a while, maybe a few months, but he had to be fairly new to California. I admit, I was both distracted and intrigued.

I unhooked his leash from the doorknob. “What’s your name?”

“Ja – I mean, whatever you wish it to be.” He was clearly terrified, and trying to stick to a script. Not broken, not really. He didn’t know how he was supposed to act, just what he’d been told to say.

“I’ll think on it. For now, I’ll call you boy.” I wanted to tweak him, to see if he still had any pride. To see how far I could push him. Petty, but I wasn’t in a good mood.

He swallowed, glaring at me for a split second before he looked back down at the ground. “Yes, mistress. Whatever you want.”

“Come on, then, boy. I’ll show you where you’ll be staying, and you can call the Countess’s secretary and schedule an appointment for me.”

He swallowed, even as he followed me – it was that or drag his heels and fight the leash; his hands were cuffed behind his back. “Call? Mistress?”

I rolled my eyes. He was certainly no Michael, rough, raw, and untrained.

Certainly no… I sat down, hard, tugging on his leash and pulling him down on top of my in the process. That bitch. She had done this on purpose. To show me what Michael must have thought.

“Mistress?” he squeaked uncomfortably. He was going to take a lot of training. A lot of attention. I smiled slowly. Just like the Ice Queen to teach me a lesson and give me a pleasant distraction from my grief in one package.

“I’ll teach you,” I told him.

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Re-blessing the Church

For flofx“‘s prompt, with information from this site.

Very likely in the “Fairy Town” setting of many of today’s stories.

Possibly proof that I should stop writing before 11:30


They were building a new church, which caused quite a bit of consternation in the City.

Not for the faith, which was as welcome as any other. Not for the construction, not in itself. Buildings were sometimes built, even in the legacy parts of town.

The problem was, they were doing it, as the saying goes, right, and thus they were doing it in such a way as to worry just about everyone.

They had torn down the existing building, or what was left of it, and in tearing down the lawyer’s office (they never lasted long, in the City), they had found that a church had once stood there, a church and a churchyard. And they had then found, in excavating, the cornerstones of the church in the foundation of the lawyer’s office, and, in digging further, two things they hadn’t wanted to find: the skeleton of a lamb, under what had once been the front step of the church, and a tome describing the blessing of the land.

There had been plans to turn the land into a museum, into a small shopping center, into a library. But the land had been blessed as long as there are feet walking on this ground, and there were still feet, so the land must remain holy.

The church-yard, the cemetery, had been moved when the church had burnt down, the skeletal remains and their stones heading down to Sacred Heart several blocks down. The human remains had been moved, but the kirkevarer, the church-warning, had not. A sensitive was hired to come find it and awaken it, while stone-masons and architects built the church.

“It must be holy,” they said, one person to the next, and so all the psychic energy of a city rich with power was pressed into the work of making the building holy, making it worthy of the blessed land, making up for the decades of lawyers and hair dressers. “It must be holy” and every person who had ever called themselves Christian in the city came to the first Sunday service, dressed in their best and focused on the purest thoughts they knew.

“It must be holy,” and the city, the whole city, murmured prayers over the building, over the new stone where the old kirkevarer was re-buried. And the corpse-lamb, the warning spirit, glowed over the whole block, shining brightly with their blessings.


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Kept du Jour, a story of Boom!Post-Apoc for @Inventrix & @cluudle

Separation Anxiety (LJ) Boom!/RP timeline/ Cynara
Parting Advice, and Mother Bears (LJ) and
Mother-Son Bonding (LJ). in the Boom!/RP timeline. I believe this is part three of four four of five.

In a crew with my Keeper this year… Cya’s smile didn’t falter. “I don’t mind at all. Hop in, Pan. I’m Cynara du’Red Doomsday, Yoshi’s mother.”

The boy – if he wasn’t a relative of Leofric’s, she’d eat her hat – looked a little startled, but he got into the back seat of the car, letting Yoshi load his luggage. Double mistake, but then again, most kids hadn’t been raised by Boom.

“Doomsday?” he asked, as she got back into the driver’s seat, Yoshi riding shotgun. “Yoshi, man, you didn’t tell me your mom was in Boom.”

“No-one asked.” Her son still had that dead tone that she remembered far too well from other Kept, other years. She wasn’t entirely certain this Pan would survive the drive home.

Well, her crew being what it was, she was very good at hiding bodies.

Once they were on the long, straight stretch of highway headed home, she muttered a quick Working under cover of a well-timed coughing fit from Yoshi. The boy in her back seat wasn’t going anywhere now. “Talk to me,” she murmured to her son, gentling it just enough to not be a command.

Yoshi squirmed. “It… I know what everyone was talking around?” He offered uncomfortably. “And some of the stuff your Kept du jour have… well, like the one guy, with the nightmares?”

Cya tightened her grip on the steering wheel. Njörðr’s time at Addergoole had been… well, nightmare-inducing. “I’m sorry we couldn’t tell you,” she said softly, instead of all the things she wanted to say.

“Well,” he squirmed uncomfortably. “I knew about Keeping. I mean, with your Kept du jour… Somehow Tethys caught me anyway.” He held up both hands, presumably to keep Cya from Finding the bitch right now and ripping out her guts. “Mom… She wasn’t. I mean. I’ve heard stories. She wasn’t like, like Jordy’s Keeper. I mean, no scars. And she already had her two.”

Slowly, Cya unpeeled one hand from the wheel and offered it to her son. “There’s more than one way to be a horrendous Keeper, hon. Ask your Uncle Leo, sometime, maybe.”

Panlong, in the back seat, had latched on to one part of their conversation. “Kept du jour?”

“Oh, yeah,” Yoshi grinned, with feigned casualness. “Every year, Mom picks up a new Addergoole grad and Keeps them for a year. Last year was a bunny.”

“New…” Pan moved for the car door, only to realize that he couldn’t. He paled slowly. “I’m fucked, aren’t I?”

“Look at it this way,” Yoshi said, with cheerful malice that suggested he was quoting something, “it’s only for a year.”

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Tangling isn’t just a walk in the park, a Donor-Perk story of Stranded World

Spring needed a story. This follows Tangled and Day Job

Stranded World has a landing page here and here.


“That one. The one in the blue shirt.”

“With the Pomeranian?”

“That one.”

They made a good pair, when they chose to work together. Lance could point out the places where someone’s map had stopped touching other people’s, where it had gone into being a one-star-constellation, and Spring could nudge them, a little or a lot, to shake their world up.

People needed tangling. They tended, if they were left to their own devices, to just truck on straight ahead, staying in the same rut, stagnating, calcifying. Sometimes, life provided enough chaos to keep them changing, adapting. But when it didn’t, they tended to grow stiff and rigid, unable to bend with the wind, more likely to snap.

So Spring tangled them, tugged their strings, added a little randomness to their life. She reached out with her mind, grabbed the strands of their life, and, carefully – don’t hit that one, it’s a bit raw, that one is holding her life up, leave that alone – braided and knotted.

“It’s like macramé,” Lance murmured. “You’re an artist, Spring.”

“If you’re not an artist,” she murmured, finding the best strand, the one with the highest chaos for the least damage, and tying it off to another strand, over… there. There looked right, “you can do a lot of damage. I was trained very well.”

“I thought tanglers defied training.”

Across the park, the Pomeranian’s leash broke, and it went running top-speed towards a jogger with a Doberman Pinscher. The woman in blue went after her dog, the man with the Pinscher went down in a tangle of leash, and the woman went after him. Spring smiled, satisfied with her work.

“Someday, you might meet my brother. Then you’ll understand.” There were forces that could organize even a tangler.

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City Holiday, a story of the Fairy Town for the Giraffe Call @EllenMillion

For [profile] ellenmillion‘s prompt

I think this is in the same setting as Loaves (LJ), which, then, I think is in the same setting as Strange Neighbors (LJ) and the Fairy Road (here on LJ) and thus The Beggars (LJ).

This, ah, wasn’t *supposed* to be creepy… eep. Sorry?

In June, every June, for a week (the same week every year, whatever Sunday-through-Saturday had the 21st in it), the City went on vacation. The whole city. Everything shut down. The busses didn’t run. Trash wasn’t picked up. The radio stations played “best of.” The libraries and parks were on skeleton staff, getting time-and-a-half. Even the police and firemen were down to minimum numbers, but that was okay. Crime didn’t happen during The Holiday. If it did, the goblins dealt with it.

It was hard to get used to, for new people. People who had lived there a couple years knew to plan for it, knew to leave their garbage in and not expect the bus to pick them up, took the extra week of paid vacation and ran with it. But every year, there’d be some new guy in the neighborhood, some poor lost family that didn’t understand.

Judy and Mark got in the habit of wandering the neighborhoods, especially once their kids were grown, looking for the lost people with their cans on the curb, waiting for the pick-up, not understanding. They were third-generation themselves, born and raised in the City and, to hear Mark tell it, with a bit of goblin blood on his side, and some fairy wandering around in her bloodstream. They’d knock on the doors, carrying a casserole dish, a nice retiree couple, and when the family let them in, they’d explain the way things were.

The city shut down for a week every June. Everything shut down. Even crime. If you didn’t respect that, the goblins and the fairies got you.

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The Beggars… a story of the Fairy Road for the Giraffe Call

For [personal profile] skjam‘s prompt

I think this is in the same setting as Loaves (LJ), which, then, I think is in the same setting as Strange Neighbors (LJ) and the Fairy Road (here on LJ)

“I’ve just realized…I haven’t seen any homeless people or beggars on the street for at least a month. Where did they all go?”

The words where hardly out of Andrew’s mouth when he regretted them. His partner, Cary, was eying him strangely.

“What do you mean, Andy?” he asked, cautiously, Andrew thought. Like there was a secret he wasn’t supposed to know. There were a lot of those in the City Police Force. Too many.

“Well, there used to be the blonde lady down on Castor Street, the one that you could see the spark in? Like ‘man, this woman must have been hot in her heyday?’ I haven’t seen her in… since the day I got the promotion,” he realized, and then, more to his chagrin, realized he was still talking. Verbal diarrhea. It had cost him comfortable promotions and raises before, before he and June moves to the City. Was it going to lose him another one?

Cary was certainly still looking at him oddly. “I know her,” he answered slowly. “And the old black man down on West Indes Street…”

“..the one who would sing with the sweetest voice, every time you dropped a dollar in his cup?” Andy nodded eagerly, half hoping that this was going somewhere positive and half not caring, because these things needed to be said. “I remember him! The day after I got the promotion, I bought him a sandwich, and he sang for me for twenty minutes.”

Cary’s look was changing. “This city has a lot of beggars.”

“Had, it looks like. Man, is something happening?” He was always the last to know. “Bussing, or a serial killer no-one wants to tell me about, or something?”

“Something’s happening all right,” Cary answered slowly. “Get your coat. We’re taking a walk.”

Wishing that didn’t sound so much like “wandering into a back alley,” Andy slipped his coat on. “You knew something was going on?”

“You’re new, you see. No-one knew if they could trust you, so they gave you to me. But if you’ve heard Old Tyler sing, that means you passed.”

“I passed?”

“You passed. And now, Andy… well, there’s more to our City than meets the naked eye. Come on, and I’ll show you.”

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For @Theladyisugly’s commissioned prompt from the December Call.

Yngvi and Sigurd are characters in Addergoole (Sigurd only shows up, so far, in the Halloween story Tricked, as an 8-year-old.

Addergoole has a landing page here and on LJ.



Yngvi looked over his son – his only son, and likely to remain that way, and also, although he tried not to think about it too much, his nephew – and tried not to curl his lip.

They’d done a very good job of keeping in touch, up to a point. And then school had happened, the way it did, and the sweet teenaged boy he’d known had, like so many before and after him, vanished.

Vi wasn’t sure he knew this kid; worse, he thought maybe he did know him, from the dark places in his mind, from the monsters that had forced him to learn how to fight. From the mirror.

“So,” he said again, looking at the boy half an inch shorter than him, lean to his muscular, his hair cut short and fashionable. They could be brothers. The horns, of course, added to the similarity; Sigurd’s were twisted like corkscrews.

“So.” The boy’s smile was every bit as sharp as his horns. “You wanted to see me.”

“We hadn’t talked in a few years. I do try to keep up with my family.”

“I remember. Christmas and Fourth of July.” He pulled a small pocketknife out of his pocket, one of the first gifts Yngvi had given him. “And sometimes we’d go to the park. Do you want to go to the park today, Dad?”

Yngvi felt his shoulders tighten, looking down at his son. Sometimes, the animal inside took over, and then there were contests of will, butting heads. Sometimes, as his father had told him, you couldn’t have two strong men in the same room; it just didn’t work. Autumn was worst, and it was summer now.

He didn’t want to butt heads with his son. He called on every bit of his innate power, every ounce of knowing-the-right-words that he’d ever needed, and said, a little bit to his surprise, “the park would be nice, Siggie. There’s one right down the road.” He tilted his head. “It’s still pristine. These people keep their land pretty well.”

Something in Sigurd’s demeanor shifted, twisted, relaxed. “I’d like that,” he admitted quietly, and pocketed the knife. Ynvgi started walking, and, slowly, Sigurd fell in next to him.

“You came,” he said after a while. “I didn’t think you would.”

“It’s your birthday, Sig. I’ve never failed to show up for your birthday. I wasn’t sure you’d come, though.”

“I wasn’t sure I would, either,” he admitted. They had dropped their voices, until they were near-whispers, as if hiding this from someone. Who? Yngvi wished he knew. Next to him, Sigurd shrugged out of his leather jacket. “I wasn’t sure I’d get permission.”

Permission. Yngvi’s head whipped around so fast, his horns whistled in the air. Permission? Yes, by all the blasted returned gods, there was a collar around his son’s neck, small, leather, black to match the jacket.

“I thought you graduated,” he hissed angrily.

“I did.” The tightness was back in the boy’s expression. “I graduated in June. Earned my Name.”

Cautiously, Yngvi touched the collar, assuring himself it was there. It wasn’t, as pieces of wardrobe went, ugly, but it was a slave collar on his son’s neck. “Do I have to kill someone?” he asked flatly. “Who do I need to kill for you, Sigurd?”

His son looked, for a moment, frightened, and then something else. Touched? Worried? “I… I took this on, Dad,” he offered, very nervously. “I wasn’t tricked into it.” He was talking fast now. “I needed a favor, a couple little favors, and he’s a nice guy. We worked out a deal. Please don’t kill him? I kinda like him. Liked him before the collar,” he added hurriedly, stepping back as if afraid Yngvi was going to flip out.

Took it on. For a moment, Vi wasn’t certain he wouldn’t do something stupid. Then he found a calm place and, very carefully, hugged his son. “All right,” he murmured, as reassuringly as he knew how. “I won’t kill him. But I would like to meet him.”

Crushed against Vi’s chest, his horns brushing his father’s hair, Siggie sounded like a child again. “You would’ve? If I didn’t want this? If I was stuck?”

“Siggie, I’d move the world to help you or your sisters. I’d ruin the world for you.” Yngvi smiled faintly at his only son. “So.”

Sig smiled cautiously. “So.”

Siggie from another point of view – by Inventrix, at the beginning of his first year of school.

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So I’ve Started Out

To Anonymous’ commissioned prompt, a continuation of this story (and on LJ).

Addergoole has a landing page here and on LJ.

Flying, Arundel was learning, was hard work, and exhausting. Even though Mr. Hawk told him that it wasn’t all in the muscles – “If you were doing this all with physical strength, you’d never get off the ground. Your flight is as much a part of your magic as, well, whatever you innate power is going to be,” – there was certainly a lot of something going on with his body, moving these new, strange, massive wings, keeping himself going.

And, of course, there was the falling. He wasn’t, he discovered, frightened of falling, but it hurt, and he liked to avoid the pain, not in the least because it made Sylvia tut-tut at him, which made him wriggle in uncomfortable ways and made Porter glower and sulk.

He wanted to ask his friend about that, but they didn’t seem to have a lot of time to talk. There was class – they had a couple in common, but there were always other people around. Then there were magic classes, and then sessions with their Mentors, and then they were in the suite that Sylvia had finagled for them, despite the objections of the Director’s secretary, who seemed to think that Arundel and the otter girl ought to be sharing a room.

He wasn’t entirely stupid. He’d seen other kids in their class Kept, just like Porter had. He’d seen the collars before Sylvia had put one on him, and he had some idea of how those relationships went, or at least how some of them went, controlling, uber-power-dichotomy sort of things that were still a lot like high school dating. But he wasn’t, as far as he could tell, dating Sylvia, and he wasn’t entirely certain why not.

Luke had said he could come to him with anything. Arundel wasn’t sure that this was the sort of thing he meant – the PE teacher seemed like the “how do I break the bully’s nose” or “how do I not fail math” sort of guy, but “anything” meant anything, and, besides, he wasn’t sure who else to ask. So, at the end of a long, exhausting flying session, stretching his shoulders and wings on the ground, Arundul cleared his throat and, very nervously, asked.

“Sir… this ‘Kept’ thing?”

Luke got an uncomfortable, gassy expression. “What about it?”

“It’s real? I mean… of course it’s real.” He could feel the effects. “But it’s okay?”

“Okay is relative,” Luke grunted. “But it’s allowed by school rules, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“This school is a little messed up, sir. Sorry…. but it is.”

“I’m not arguing.”

It looked like Luke would have been comfortable leaving the conversation there, and Arundel really couldn’t blame him for that. But he still had questions, and he had to start somewhere.

“The collar…?”

“That’s part of larger Ellehemaei society. Not required, but common. Tells other people ‘hands off.'”

“Okay, I can get that. But, um.” He pulled some grass unhappily. “Everyone else I see wearing a collar, they’re all, cuddled up to their… their owner?”

“Or Keeper.”

“To their Keeper. And a couple even say ‘my boyfriend’ or ‘my girlfriend,’ like they’re dating. And Sylvia…”

“Well, Sylvia’s always been a bit…” Luke paused, frowning. “Reserved. Ask her about it?”

Arundel blanched. “No, thank you!” He wasn’t scared of Sylvia. But she didn’t like questions a whole lot, and she didn’t like personal questions at all.

“Hunh, like that, is it?” Luke shook his head. “Do those stretches I showed you. I’ll think on it a little bit. But as to what you’re asking – it’s not always ‘dating,’ whatever that means this decade. It doesn’t have to be sexual.”

“Ack.” The grass was very, very fascinating. “Ack,” he muttered again. “Okay. Um. Sorry I asked?”

Luke stood up. “Stretch. Worry about Sylvia on her time. And on my time, we’re going to go through those flight positions.”

Worry about Sylvia on her time. It seemed like reasonable advice, and also seemed less likely to get him assigned more push-ups for making his Mentor uncomfortable. Arundel waited until he was back in their suite, showered, dried, and patiently drying his wings before he went back to worrying about Sylvia, under the theory that time that wasn’t for classes or Luke belonged, for good or ill, to his Keeper.

He was still chewing it over when Sylvia walked into his room – she did that, without knocking, and he really couldn’t figure out how to complain – and started drying his wings for him. The touch felt, as her touch always did, nicer than it ought to, nicer than anything. “Sylvia,” he started cautiously. Half the time when he started talking, she just shushed him.

This time, she just said, in her so-very-mild neutral voice that left him a little anchorless, “Arundel?”

“Isn’t Keeping generally… I mean, doesn’t it usually sort of act like dating?”

“It often does,” she agreed, her neutral getting a little colder.

“But you and me…?” Why did Hayley think I’d need a shrink?

“You and I are not dating,” she answered, setting the towel down. “I would not force dating on you.”

He turned to look at her, folding his wings in. He was beginning to learn how to not hit people or low-lying objects or walls or irate professors with them, but only recently. He really, really didn’t want to hit her with his wings. Certainly not now.

“You wouldn’t… force… dating on me?” he repeated, carefully, to make sure he had heard her right. “You think it would be force?”

“I Own you,” she answered, stepping backwards a half-step. “I could tell you we were dating, and we would be. I could tell you to take your clothes off, and you would.”

He sat down on the bed with a thump. “Sylvia, you’re a pretty girl who’s been nice to me since you met me. You could tell me to take my clothes off without this Keeping thing, and I would.”

“But the Bond takes away your choice,” she explained, a little plaintively.

He shook his head, more than a little disbelieving. “Well… so does not asking me, wouldn’t you say?”

Next: Trying (LJ) (Arundel/Sylvia Year 8)

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