For wyld_dandelyon‘s prompt
Finnegan is a characters in Addergoole
After Ghost Story (LJ)
Finnegan was woken in the middle of the night by a hand on his shoulder. For a brief moment, he forgot where he was, who he was, everything but the sensation of a midnight wake-up. He expected to hear Allyse’s purr in his ear: Trouble. Back later. Stay here; waiting orders.
Instead, it was a soft whisper, gentler than his Keeper had ever been. “Finn? Finnegan, wake up. I can’t find Brenna.” That was Aimee’s voice. Aimee, not Allyse. A world apart and then some.
He blinked into wakefulness, hoping he hadn’t gone invisible, or, if he had, that the other counselor hadn’t noticed. “I’m awake.” He tilted his head towards the cabin exit, counted his own campers – six, good. Six heads, six beds, and a heat signature to match each head. Brenna had been getting friendly with his camper Jose; that’s probably why the other counselor had come for him.
She was waiting outside for him. Barely older than the campers herself; last year, she’d been a camper, making wide flirty eyes at Finnegan. He’d been too broken last year, to even contemplate it; this year, they were too busy to have time to flirt. Funny how life did that.
“She was there when I checked at ten, but when I woke up at midnight, she was gone. The rest of my girls are sound asleep, but I thought maybe she’d gone off with Jose.”
“He’s still in his bed. Doesn’t mean he didn’t set her up, though.” Finnegan felt like a heel, especially at the hurt look on Aimee’s face. “It’s not the first time one of them’s done something like that – tell the other girl or guy they’d meet them somewhere at midnight, and then blow them off or forget all about it. I can see Jose doing it.”
“They’re just kids, Finnegan.”
“Trust me, fourteen isn’t a kid anymore. Not when it comes to sheer manipulation and cynicism.” He decided not to mention how barely past that she was herself. “I’d try up at the top of the hill.”
“By the fence?” She was scared, bless her heart. Finnegan sighed.
“There’s not really a heart-eating monster up there, you know.”
“I know! It’s just…”
“Come on. I’ll hold your hand.” He’d been kidding, but was unsurprised when she clung to the hand he offered like it was a lifeboat. “This happens all the time, Aimee. Didn’t you used to wander off at night?”
“I know what I was doing, too.” He could see her blush even in the moonlight; the Kwxe Working he had up meant he could feel it, too.
“So let’s see who she’s doing it with.”
The hike up the hill was treacherous even in daytime, miserable at night, but the moon was full, and clever Aimee had brought a flashlight. It didn’t stop her from leaning on his arm, but, then again, he hadn’t expected it to. He didn’t mind; she had a sort of softness and neediness that seemed even more appealing when compared to his nightmares of Allyse and her sisters.
“Oh, god, oh, help…” the voice was thin and reedy, panicked sounding but as if the speaker was trying not to be too long. Whispering for help? “Someone, please…”
“That’s Brenna.” Aimee pulled ahead, turning to make sure Finnegan was keeping up. He followed dutifully, muttering a whole series of Workings under his breath as he went there.
He didn’t need to have bothered. The girl was there, all right, in just the place where generations of campers before her had found a loose spot in the fence and made it bigger, right on the other side from the foundation of the old cottage. She was crouched low to the ground, her heat signature way higher than it ought to be. And she seemed to have done something very weird with her hair…
No. Finnegan stopped, staring carefully at the girl. No. That wasn’t a weird hair-do, that was a crest. Three rows of crest, as a matter of fact, like some sort of fish. And she wasn’t whispering, she was gasping for air.
“No,” he groaned. How was he going to explain this to Aimee? She was as mundane as you could get; all she was going to see was an unhappy girl, not one drowning on dry land.
Explain later, he decided. He scooped up the girl. “We have to get her into the water. Tub in the counselor’s bathroom is closer than the lake. Move!”
She moved, running faster than he’d thought possible, especially in those stupid flip-flops. She jetted down the hill, Finnegan muttering desperate little Meentik Yaku Working at the girl, wishing he could handle more than an alpha-level when it came to Create.
And then she was in the tub, and they were pouring water over her, and then, only then, bless her heart, did Aimee ask, in a shaking voice, “does she have…gills?”
Brenna is a character in Addergoole Year Nine!
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