Ciara was floating, for a moment, dreaming of a pasture full of bulls, angry bulls, stomping their feet and grumbling.
She came to in a rush of disorientation, to find Luke leaning over her, his wings spread wide like a canopy, sheltering her from view. “There you are,” he murmured. “Clever girl. I got you stabilized, but you need to go to the doctor’s.”
She nodded, startled at how much energy that seemed to take. “Amadeus…?”
“He’s standing right here, holding your purse.” Luke looked worried. “Ciara…”
“I know. Tigers and tails.” She nodded. “Muzzle him before I let go of the tail.”
“Good girl. I’m going to pick you up now.” He did so, gently, and she could see, then, the remaining crowd, hovering around looking – disappointed? Surprised? Some, at least, looked happy – and Amadeus, definitely looking murderous.
“Amadeus. There’s a notebook in my purse. Get it out. The items on the first page, that begin with ‘do not harm or attempt to harm Ciara,’ are your standing, long-term, permanent orders. Read them, obey them. The second page, beginning ‘go to your room and pack your belongings,’ are your orders for today. Read them, obey them. You may keep the notebook, but I want my purse back now.”
Looking absolutely poleaxed, he did as she ordered, handing her the purse and reading the notebook with an increasingly unhappy expression.
“The order to not touch anyone or anything is void now,” she added, and then let herself go limp in Luke’s arms. She’d expected him to hurt her. She’d needed him angry enough to lose control, and she’d know that would likely involve some damage. But she hadn’t expected it to hurt quite this much.
“Done?” Luke’s voice was pitched for her ears alone. She nodded, and he carried her across the hall to the Doctor’s office.
As he set her on the exam table, the normally dour PE teacher smiled at her. “You planned the whole thing, didn’t you?”
She shrugged, just a little – even that hurt. “I just like making lists.”
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