After Blond Bishop
He didn’t want to do anything but fly for a few minutes, so that’s all he did, letting the wind carry him, letting the air hit his face, letting his wings do their own thinking and his body shift with the currents.
When he started to think again, he flew higher, making the work take all his attention. It had been a while since he’d gotten a good flight in. He should…
The thought hit him like a punch in the guts and he lost his glide for a moment. He flapped hard, caught himself, and found the thermal again, the panic momentarily overwhelming the sudden surge of guilt.
Once he was stabilized, he had no such protection. He should ask Cya if he could do this more often...
But he hadn’t asked, he’d just freaked out like an idiot and flapped off.
Which had a chance of seriously pissing off his Keeper, not to mention irritating his boss.
He snarled at the wind. He didn’t want a boss. He didn’t want a Keeper. He certainly didn’t want these kids with centuries less experience less than him and erratic behavior patterns bordering on insanity to be in charge with him. He didn’t want… he didn’t want…
He stalled out, his wings stilling, his whole body stilling and, just as quickly, twitched and moved again, correcting for the wind. Mid-air was not the place to be having existential crises, not unless he wanted to find out exactly how much damage his body could survive.
A treacherous voice in the back of his head wondered if Cya would rush to his side, if Mike would be there in a heartbeat, if anyone would care.
“Don’t be stupid,” he snarled at himself. He wasn’t her lover; he wasn’t her paramour. He sure as hell wasn’t any of that for Mike. And there was no reason anyone ought to be rushing anywhere, although, he considered, Will would probably show up just to yell at him. Yell at him and not let him die. Will was like that.
He was being stupid. He was being stupid, and he was being a stupid Kept which, he was beginning to realize, was an entirely different animal from normal stupidity. He ought to go back and, it seemed, he wasn’t doing anything of the sort. He twitched his wings in the currents and moved up higher still.
He became aware that someone was following him about half an hour out from the army camp. He shifted and twisted until he could get a good look at them: an elf, with wings. A long, lean woman with strawberry blonde hair and improbably pointed ears… and improbably pointed wings. She was pacing him with ease, and she was wearing the uniform of Leo’s army.
A flier, and he hadn’t met her. Luke stamped down a surge of anger and flapped hard, pulling himself higher in the air, moving faster.
She kept up. He kept flying, higher, faster, pushing himself until even his supernatural lungs burned, and she was right behind him. He dove down a couple hundred feet – and she paced him.
Leo’s army was nothing if not loyal, Luke had to admit, loyal, devoted, and obedient. He found an outcropping big enough for both of them and landed, doing his best not to show how hard he was panting.
She circled twice, talking into her radio, before she landed as well.
“Sir.” Her voice was neutral.
“Miss.” She had the insignia for Captain; “Captain. I’d say you don’t have to follow me, but you do, don’t you?”
“Do you have any other orders?”
“Of course, sir.”
Luke snorted. “C… sa’Doomsday would love you.”
“Yes, sir.” Her voice was carefully neutral.
“I’m not… I’m not running away.” He shifted, wings folding in a bit. He didn’t like the concept. He didn’t like using that phrase. He wasn’t some recalcitrant slave…
…except, fuck, he was.
“Yes, sir.” It sounded as if she meant “no, sir.”
“My Keeper’s not only a Finder, she employs a teleporter and she controls most of this part of the country. Err, world.” Was this woman even old enough to remember when the US had existed? “Even if I weren’t Kept, I couldn’t run away from her. And the Keeping bond doesn’t really allow for escape.“
She smirked at him. “True, sir.”
His wings twitched. Oh, it had been a while since he’d really given himself a workout. “I just mean… I just needed to fly.” He sounded pretty pitiful. “I needed to feel the wind.”
The captain’s wings stretched towards the air behind her. “I know the feeling. You worried the General, sir.”
“Yeah, well,” he muttered, but he knew he was being both childish and unwise.
But the captain raised her elfin eyebrows at him, and he felt like he ought to continue. “…Not like it’s not mutual,” he admitted.
“You were his Mentor, sir?”
“Why do you keep calling me sir, Captain? Pretty sure you outrank the civilian — Kept — adviser.”
“You were the General’s Mentor, sir.” Her expression suggested that should explain it.
He sighed. There were worse things to be honored for, he supposed. Like all those Students he’d had that hadn’t made it. “All right. Just… Call me Luke, okay? I don’t feel like much of a ‘sir’ right now.”
“Can do. Call me Gwen, sir… Luke.”
“Got it, Gwen.” He spread his wings and leaned against a rock outcropping. “I’m being an idiot,” he confided, because Mike was a long way away, but this girl had something Mikelike about her nose and chin, if he squinted.
“Bolting probably wasn’t the brightest thing,” she allowed. She was smirking at him. Somehow, that made Luke feel better.
“Yeah. I. Uh.” He tugged on his collar uncomfortably. “This is, uh. New.”
“Keeps you young, right?” she joked. At least, he hoped she was joking. “New experiences?”
“Hunh.” He kicked the rock behind him a little while that rattled around in his brain. “Haven’t done ‘new’ in a while.”
“Don’t show at all or anything.” She leaned back against her own rock, mirroring him. “You’re not antsy and twitchy about everything you don’t understand, you’re not glowering at all the kids and their weird ways, let’s see, you’re not complaining about the old times –“
“That was only once!”
“And you’re not doing that thing where you could clearly do it better if only the stupid kids would listen to you.”
Luke huffed. “That’s not…”
“No. That’s ’cause you’re collared and your boss is sleeping with your Keeper.” She smirked at the way his wings twitched. “You know it’s true.”
“I’m not some idiot child who gets whipped this way and that by the collar,” he grumbled. “And I am not jealous of a girl young enough to be my great-great-great-grandchild.”
“She’s also old enough to be my great-great-great-grandmother. What’s that have to do with anything?” She raised her eyebrows. “Immortal fae. Age pretty much stops mattering after the first hundred years, doesn’t it?”
“She’s in love with Leo!” he bellowed.
“Well, yeah. And you’re Kept by her.” She patted his shoulder with a smirk. “You’ll get used to it eventually.”
He growled at her. “I’m not some lovesick child.”
“Tch, sir, you’re repeating yourself. We both know you’re not lovesick, an idiot, or a child. What you are, however, is Kept. And since you’re not a child or an idiot… maybe you ought to come to terms with it?”
Luke growled and pressed his wings against the rock behind him. “Why don’t…” He stopped himself and growled again instead. “Fuck.”
“Nobody said it would be easy.” Her smile was not particularly friendly. “We flying on, or are we flying back?”
Luke turned and punched the rock. His snarl seemed to echo the surge of guilt, fuck, was he not even allowed to be angry? “Flying back,” he snarled. “I’m going to have to face this shit eventually.”
But nothing said he had to do so in good grace.
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1207598.html. You can comment here or there.