Contains discussion of rape in the context of Addergoole..
It had been a good class. Leo’s kids had a lot of good questions, and Luke found that he really enjoyed answering them. It made him want to teach – not gym, not combat, not the earnest questions about the Right that some of his Students had, but an actual class.
Well, they had experts in their subjects for that. Luke was mostly an expert in skull-breaking.
Too soon, the class bell rang. Luke braced himself and nodded at the young, angry girl, LaKeziah. “You wanted to speak with me?”
“You bet I did!” She stood up, not having to rise up on her toes much to look Luke in the eye, and poked at his chest with one aggressive finger. “You have a lot to answer for, Mister.”
By now he’d been looking at her long enough to take a guess at her ancestry. “You’re Ilta’s daughter.” He paused for a moment, pulling up the memories. She hadn’t been Kept her first year, that hadn’t been… ah. “Your mother had some bad experiences at school, and, I admit, we didn’t catch the problems as soon as we should have.” He sat down again. “We try hard, but-”
“Don’t talk to me like I’m a child!”
Despite himself, Luke smiled. “I’m nearly three hundred years old. The people who built and run this school, I saw them as infants. I’ve seen your mother, her parents, and her grandparents as infants…”
“And you let them be raped and tortured? How can you do that!?”
Luke let his wings flare. “Let me assure you, I’ve never ‘let’ anyone be tortured.”
“And what about raped? Are you going to tell me you don’t condone rape, either?”
Luke took a breath, and then let it out, thoughtful. Finally, he spoke more quietly, and very carefully. “First, I’m not saying this to treat you like a child – but because you are younger than me. You understand the difference?”
LaKeziah looked like she wanted to argue, but gave him the honor of thinking about it. “All right. Yes.”
“In order to answer your question – really answer it – I need you to have context you don’t have right now.”
“I understand rape just fine!”
“I hope that’s not true.” Luke searched for inner calm and found it with more than a little difficulty.
“Either way, the definition – even the way it’s been thought of – has changed a lot in the last three hundred years. So I’m going to ask you to do something unpleasant.” He leaned forward. “Research the way the definitions have changed during that time.”
“What, you think that will change my mind?”
“No, I hope it doesn’t. But if we’re going to talk about this, I want to talk about it right.” He found his wings flaring uncomfortably. “You deserve an honest, complete answer.”
She leaned back. “Hunh. Why? I’m just a kid.”
“You asked a valid question, and it deserves and answer.” Luke pulled his wings in. “Even if I don’t like it.”
“Okay.” She nodded abruptly. “I’ll do it. When’ll you be back?”
“Two months from now.” He was pretty sure Cynara would let him back in the door. “I’ll bring my own research, too.”
She’d been ready to turn around; her head snapped back to look at him. “You? What do you need to research?”
Luke gave her a grim smile. “The way the definitions of rape have changed since I was a young man.” He folded his wings close. “Also – some things about ends and means.”
“Hunh.” This time, her look was far less sharp. “You’re a weird one.”
“I know.” He nodded his head to her. “It helps if you think of me as being out of my century.”
“No, no, it’s not that. I’ve met old fae before – even older than you.” She shrugged, brushing it off. “I’ll figure it out.”
“I’m sure you will.” He made a note to ask the rest of the staff about Ilta, when he got home. Then again, he had a lot to talk to his fellow teachers about. Cynara. Doomsday. What else had he missed?
Nehara settled her hand on his arm. “Would you like to see the rest of the grounds?”
He stretched his wings. “I think I could use some time to clear my head,” he agreed. “But you’re missing all your classes.”
“Oh, I’ll be fine. Everyone misses a little time now and then.” She flapped her hand. “It’s almost required.”
“This place seems more and more like a reaction to Addergoole,” he muttered.
Nehara turned to look at him, a little startled. “Well, of course it is. Why would you think it wasn’t?”
That was a good question. “Regine,” he said, piecing it together as he spoke, “said that Cynara wanted to be part of the Addergoole system.”
“Well, if the first two of every generation of my children had to go somewhere, I’d want to be involved, too. Wouldn’t you?” The smile she shot him was, for once, not friendly. “Of course, you are.”
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