The Beast We Become

To [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s prompt.
Set in Year 6 of the Addergoole School, about halfway through the year.

Aelgifu (Ayla) and Callista (as well as the mentioned others) are Addergoole characters.

“You can’t ignore it forever, you know.”

When Ioanna said it, she was gentle. Callista hadn’t gotten the feeling of being gentle yet, so it came out, like so much of what she said, rough and raspy and cutting right to the bone.

There was no question what Callista thought Aelgifu was ignoring. For one, she was waving at Ayla with all six arms. For another, they’d been talking about this on and off for the six months since they’d crewed up.

“I’m very good at Masking.” It wasn’t quite an answer, but she didn’t want to give an answer.

“Can’t Mask your brain, little jackalope.”

“Don’t call me that.”

“Why not?” Callista leaned forward, mid-arms resting on her thighs. “I’m a spider, you’re a jackalope, your pretty girlfriend is a face-changer, and your brother is an antelope. It’s just the way things are.” Her smile twisted into something nasty and fierce. “And Ib is a demon.”

“Ib is a demon.” There was no argument there. “But a jackalope is a mythical creature.”

It was the wrong thing to say, and she knew it before she’d closed her mouth. Callista rattled out another laugh.

“Look around you, sweetheart. We’re all mythological here.”

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