The linkback story has been updated here with 250 words, or 5 linkbacks:
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Not long at all after Etchings.
Addergoole has a landing page here
Gregori and Speed regarded each other across the room.
“Kid,” Gregori asked carefully, “are you sure?”
That wasn’t the question you were supposed to ask on Hell Night. You were supposed to ask “Are you mine?” as he’d done with Damaris, and when they said yes, then you moved on to the part where they yelled and hit you for a little while and you explained how things were going to go.
But the prey wasn’t supposed to proposition you. At least not so directly.
The kid rolled his eyes at Gregori. “This place is magic, yeah? There’s demons and fairies and werewolves, et cetera.”
He would have to do something about that attitude. Quash it, or nurture it, or bonsai it. “More or less. Fae of all sorts, yeah.”
“And there’s collars. Collars and BDSM, bondage toys and pain toys. I found that part of the Store. “
“Somehow, I’m not surprised.” He was a bit overwhelmed, but not surprised. “Yes. There’s d/s here.”
“Maybe magical d/s?”
“Maybe magical d/s,” he allowed. “For someone asking to wear my collar, kid, you’re not very submissive.”
“I’m not yours yet. I don’t bend my head to just anybody.”
“But you’re offering to bend it to me.”
“And you’re turning me down?”
“I’m trying to make sure you understand.”
“Sir, I understand that this is going to be d/s. I understand it’s maybe magical. I understand you’re more experienced than I am. That you will take me in hand and direct me, educate me.”
“Control me. Completely?” He didn’t look terrified. He looked turned on.
“Utterly. From now until the end of this school year, if you’ll be mine.”
The prey wasn’t supposed to smile as they walked into the trap. Gregori wasn’t entirely sure this was the catch it looked like. “Then I’m yours, master.”
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“Spring is a very bright young lady.”
By the time Eugenia RoundTree was staring down her youngest daughter’s second-grade teacher over stale, burnt coffee and surprisingly good cookies, she had learned to dread parent-teacher conferences.
Winter had been so self-contained his teachers had worried about him. After that, his sisters…
Winter was such a calm young man. Autumn can’t seem to sit still for more than a minute.
Winter was always so put-together. I wasn’t expecting the mess that seems to follow Summer everywhere.
And now… “Spring seems to be so wild. After her sisters, I was expecting this, but…”
Mrs. Hamilton was the worst of them. Eugenia had tried to get Spring transferred into the other second-grade classroom, but had no success. Mrs. Hamilton has the most experience with your… unique… family.
“She is a wild child.” She’d been born under the sign of Chaos, but try explaining that.
“An immensely wild child. And that sort of behavior is disruptive, Ms. RoundTree.”
“Missus.” She’d been correcting her on that one since Winter entered school. “Some things need to be disrupted, Mrs. Hamilton.”
“Miz. Not my classroom.”
Eugenia smiled in that way that said: are you so sure it doesn’t?
Mrs. Hamilton was un-swayed. “Spring needs to normalize her behavior. If she continues to be all over the place, I am going to have to recommend therapy and corrective medication.”
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with my daughter!” Eugenia had a temper, one she never let loose. The windows rattled.
Mrs. Hamilton leaned back in her chair. “If she can learn to behave properly for my classroom…”
Learning to behave properly in toxic environments was something they’d all have to learn eventually. Eugenia nodded. “She will learn. But there is absolutely. Nothing. Wrong. With. Her.”
“Of course, Mrs. Roundtree. Nothing.”
“You need to come down to a balance of some sort, Spring.”
Mrs. Schneider was, as fifth-grade teachers went, not a bad sort. She was probably better than Mrs. Logan, who had taught Winter, Autumn, and Summer and then retired, the family joked, in defeat. Rountrees were not easy students.
Good as she was, though, Mrs. Schneider had the same problem with Spring that every teacher so far had complained about.
Spring sighed at her teacher, and tried not to roll her eyes. Today was an angry day. “I have a balance. Some days I’m up. Some I’m down.”
She’d thought of that line the night before, and was particularly proud of it. It was accurate, after all. And it got to the heart of the problem – Spring wasn’t normal, and she was perfectly content that way.
It was just the rest of the world that had problems.
“Spring, it’s not enough to average calm. You have to learn how to actually be calm. Your mood swings and attitude shifts are upsetting the rest of your classmates.”
She had an answer to that, too, but that one never worked.
“Maybe they need to be upset a little bit.”
She’d known it would work, of course. Mrs. Schneider’s frown got really deep. “That, miss, is not your call. I’ll make this simple for you, since you enjoy being difficult. If you cannot learn to act like a normal child, you will spend your class time sitting in the corner.”
names in the second half from this generator
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