Archive | July 1, 2016

The Gentle Queen Awakens, a continuation of a fanfic of Narnia and Valdemar

first: A Door in the Wall
Second: On the Other Side of the Door
Third: The Call Comes Again
Fourth: New Travelling Companions
Fifth: Complications and then Complications
Sixth: Stranger Things
Seventh: A Change and Changes
Eighth: But Not A Return
Ninth: The Gods Not Tamed
Tenth: The Tiny Queen Arises,

This way turned out to be into a tavern and to the darkest back corner. Peter and Edmund were waiting outside the building — the Mended Drum — for them, somehow already looking as if they belonged there. Peter had always been able to do that, step into a scene and belong there. Susan had watched Edmund learn it over their time in Narnia, and then again when they returned.

It seemed to relax Soleck. He smiled sidelong at them and held open the door, leading them far into the back.

In a shadowed corner, a figure sat with hood up, nursing a thick-walled mug of ale. She glanced up at them — Susan had only Soleck’s use of the pronoun to go on, as the cloak the figure was wearing concealed everything — and nodded. “Herald.”

“Polla. We have a deal?”

“These are them?” Her voice was deep for a woman, or high for a man, and husky. Susan caught the woman eyeing her, and did the same in return. “Well, on Valdemar’s head be it.”

The insult was clear. Susan braced herself, hoping neither her brothers nor Lucy would take obvious offense.

Instead, Edmund flopped into the chair nearest the woman and grinned. “That’s the idea, no?” He held out his hand. “Edmund.”

Susan could not see the woman’s expression, but her voice sounded pleasantly surprised. “Polla.” She took Edmund’s hand and shook it; her hand was broad and scarred, the nails trimmed short. “And the rest?”

“Oh, this is my brother Peter, Peter, say hi to the nice lady, and these are our sisters, Susan and Lucy.” Something about the way Edmund said it made Susan feel like he wanted to add on their titles, the names Aslan had called them by. It made her bow a little more regal than it would have otherwise been.

“Pleased to meet you,” she offered. “You are to be our guide, then?”

“That’s me. Bonded and paid by… them that’s hired you.”

Well, on Valdemar’s head be it. Susan did not say it, but she thought it might show in her face.

That was confirmed, or nearly so, when Polla threw back her head and laughed. “This one, I like. She has steel in her spine. Tell me, Soleck-Herald, what brought these four to you?”

Soleck cleared his throat. “The SunLord,” he muttered.

“The SunLord?” Polla’s voice shifted, dropping down into a conversational tone, and she leaned forward. “Interesting. The gods do not so often interfere directly, do they? Especially not V’kandis, and especially not here in Valdemar. Well.” She nodded to all four of them. “This will be an interesting trip. You can ride, I’ve been told. And you can fight?”

Edmund started to lean forward, as if to speak, and then leaned back, nodding at Peter.

Susan raised an eyebrow but did not interrupt. She wondered if they had been doing some negotiating of their own, while she and Lucy had been off shopping.

Peter cleared his throat. “Ed and I are fine in close-quarters fighting. We’re good with a sword or a mace. Lu and Susan are good with a short-sword, but you don’t want to get between Susan and her target; she’s a wicked shot with a bow, and Lucy’s pretty good too.”

“Girls good on distance, boys close up. Check.”

“Are we likely to see much combat on this mission?” Susan hoped she didn’t sound like a ninny; it was an important question, but sometimes she found her information requests were met with disdain.

Polla leaned back. A smile was visible from under the shadow of her hood. “Likely? Depends on you four. Is it possible? Combat is always a possibility. Once I got jumped while I was eating soup at a tavern three hours’ ride from the nearest battlefront.”

Soleck cleared his throat. “There’s no need to frighten them.”

“There is every need to frighten them, if the idea of battle makes them quake in their boots. But I don’t think they’re frightened. I think they’re measuring me up, am I right?”

Peter cleared his throat. “If you’re to be our guide… then we should know you. This is a strange land to us, and Herald Soleck and his Companion are the only ones we know apart from you.”

Polla laughed, a deep and happy sound that echoed in their small corner. “See? HE’s a diplomat, too. I see why you picked ‘em for this mission. All right. When can you be ready to leave?”

“Immediately, if necessary,” Peter answered for them. “We have little in the way of luggage and our mounts have been rested.”

“Don’t talk half fancy, does he? Well, maybe it’s for the better. Let me settle up my tab, and then we’re off, me kiddos.” Polla levered herself to her feet; it was then that Susan noticed the walking stick by her side.

Soleck put a hand on Polla’s. “I will pay. ‘Expenses’ was said, no? This is an expense.”

Polla laughed again, shorter and more clipped this time. “If you’d been my client…”

“But I am the client now, and we cannot go chasing after last year’s chickens. I will pay. You see these children on to the road.” He bowed low to Polla, and then to Susan and Peter, to Edmund and Lucy. “Bring him home,” he murmured very softly. “Sunlord’s-gift, we are all counting on you.”

Susan stood. Next to her, she could feel her family doing the same. She nodded her head to Soleck, the words and tone of Queen Susan coming back to her. “We will do all we can, Herald Soleck, to bring him home safely to you. On that, you have our word.”

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The Hellmouth Job, Part III (A Leverage/Buffy Fanfic)

Part I
Part Ia
Part II

The Briefing

“All right, so here we go. Missing students and kids include Andromeda Wallace, Felicity Norton, Princessa Washington… okay, I’m going to stop listing names for a moment and ask what the hell is up with these people and their names? I mean, seriously? Andromeda?”

“It’s California,” Eliot scoffed. “They probably think that it’s bad karma or bad feng shui or something to give your kid a name someone else has.”

“Historically,” Sophie offered, “in many cultures, it’s considered good luck to give your children the names of those who have come before.” She mentioned it more to Parker, who was sitting next to her, playing the role of her teenaged cousin, then to Hardison and Eliot sitting behind them.

“Mmm,” Parker agreed. “Or a street.” She smiled, bright and sharp, and then, just as quickly, her smile vanished. She twisted in her seat to look at Hardison. “So these kids… what sort of youth group is this? I mean…”

“The thing is… I’m not sure. I mean, this isn’t any ‘Boys and Girls Club’ thing, this is set up in one of the nicer neighborhoods in what’s a pretty rich school district. This is like, rich kid day care, but for the evenings, and for kids too old to really need day care.”

“Keep ‘em out of trouble,” Eliot opined. “GIve ‘em something to do so they’re not just spendin’ mommy and daddy’s money.”

“But now they’re in even more trouble.” Parker frowned. “Well, we think they are, right? I mean… sometimes missing kids just run away.”

Nate coughed. He’d been quiet, pretending to study a tourist guide to Bright Sunnydale. “It is a rare case that a runaway finds a benevolent mentor who’s a good fit for her, Parker. Many runaways… well, they need rescuing, too, even if they don’t know it yet.”

“Still, I mean. We’re not just returning these kids to sender, are we?”

“If it turns out they want to be lost…” Hardison began.

“Then it’s still illegal.” Eliot’s frown took on a sharp edge. “Anything you do involving kids is illegal, pretty much.”

“Everything we do is illegal, man.”

“I bought a pair of shoes last week,” Sophie offered. “Bought, as in paid for. Now, mind, the price I paid for them ought to be a crime. But it wasn’t technically illegal.”

“You stole the money though, right?” Parker popped her gum. “And the dress?”

“Well, of course, I’m not insane.”

“That’s different.” Eliot’s growl was tense. Both women stopped and looked at him. “I’m serious, guys. One, the people that mess with kids are shit, the absolute worst. They’re going to fight dirtier than…”


“Yes. Dirtier than him. Dirtier than anything you’ve seen. Two… Do not,” he dropped his voice to a fierce whisper, “ever let the cops find you out doing anything at all involving kids. They can get you, and they will, because they can’t get the real assholes.”

“Yes please, two of those lovely little drinks, thank you.” Hardison smiled at the flight attendant. “And could I get a pillow? Maybe some headphones? I know, everyone wants everything, and there’s only the one of you to go around, but you’re a sweetheart to try. Thank you, thank you.” He continued gushing until she scurried off, a little confused but, more importantly, no longer paying attention to what Eliot had been saying. “Man,” he added, annoyed, “we are on a public plane. They will arrest my ass if they think that I am doing anything remotely suspicious. Do not get me arrested again, Eliot.”

“That time in Cancun doesn’t count,” Eliot snapped. “Man, just because—” his annoyance faded into a reminiscent smile as he leaned back in the seat “—that nice policegirl had a thing for me…”

Hardison opened his mouth, gestured, and shut his mouth without saying anything.

“So anyway,” Parker picked up. “We’re just looking. When we find things, then we make a plan for the next step. Wait.” She wrinkled her nose at Nate. “Then we decide which plan we’re going to use.”

“As long as it’s not the one where I die,” Hardison muttered.

The Human Intelligence

“All right.” Cordelia strode in. “One, you owe me. Two, you really owe me. If my lab partner hadn’t gone missing, I would not have done this. Franklin Enrian is the creepiest creep of an amazingly rich, attractive man to ever walk through this school, and after talking to him for half an hour.. I feel as if I need either a shower or a marriage license. With a very nice prenup.”

“Thank you, Cordy.” Buffy managed to sound mostly relieved instead of amused. “If we had petty cash, I’d suggest you could go get a manicure out of petty cash. Giles, why don’t we have petty cash?”

Giles coughed. “What did you find out, Cordelia?”


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