Archive | March 25, 2017

Things She Knew… and Things She Learned (AU/If I Die Old)

We’re still deep in AU territory here.
Cya died in If I Die Young.

And Um. Didn’t stay dead. She’d planned for that.

Then Cal wrote Don’t Just Survive,

So I wrote Stay Alive. Your Job is to Stay Alive.

Then Cal wrote A Child Named Thistle

So here’s Thistle.

There were things Thistle knew, the way she knew her own name and how you always had an escape route, the way she could tie a knot, the way she could shoot a bow, the way she breathed.

And there were things she didn’t know until she knew them.

He’s hurting so hard, she thought, and she realized that she wanted to take care of him.

And she knew I’m a kid still. She looked down at her fingers, at her hands, too small. “They’re not big enough,” she muttered. And then she cleared her throat, because she knew better than to talk like that.

Except this was…

“Leo.” She tried out the name. It came out warm and affectionate, a little exasperated, and full of love.

It made her blush a little, and it made her aware that she wasn’t remembering everything.

It made her aware that she was a kid, and he was a grown-up. That had never happened before.

“Leo.” She cleared her throat. “That’s you? Yeah?”

He nodded slowly. Had he heard in her voice what she’d heard?

“Sir…” she tried, and noticed that he frowned.

“Leo,” he agreed. “That’s my name, though most people call me Leofric.”

“Leofric.” It sounded like she was irritated with him. “Leofric Lightning-Blade. So you… you know.”

He cleared his throat. “I know…” He sounded like he was asking her. Like he knew, something in her suggested, but he didn’t believe.

“I told you I’d come back.” There she was sounding exasperated again. She shook her head and cleared her throat, trying to get everything sorted out. “There’s – there’s…” There’s me and there’s me. And they’re both me, but one of me isn’t grown-up yet and one of me is a hundred years old and she… and she… “Oh.” She put her head down on her knees. “Reincarnation,” she said slowly, “it’s what happens, my dad said, when a soul is reborn. Which means, uh. Which means dying first, doesn’t it?”

He didn’t have to answer, which was good because she didn’t think he could.

“Sometimes I remember things that happened before I was born. Sometimes I don’t. But I always know who I am.” She looked at him and tried to put it into words. “I’m Thistle. And… uh. I’m Cya. Cya, not Cynara.” She tried that on carefully. “And… I was born being told to survive and to learn. So um. I think that school is a really good idea.”

My hands aren’t big enough yet. But she couldn’t have made him wait any longer.

And her hands would have to grow kinda fast, from the looks of things.

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Just a drabble of Cya and Change – Sword and Lady timeline – mostly for Cal

This is concurrent with the stuff with Luke thinking and talking to people about Deep Thoughts, and with Cya “yelling” at her Kept. And with [personal profile] inventrix’s stories about Leo and his Rescue Kept, Jeska

It had been a year for “firsts” and for changes. Sometimes she lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, trying to process all the new things.

She had stagnated, she knew, for a long time. It had been comfortable. It had been safe.

She had a city because of the last time she’d decided to stop being safe.

Now Leo had a Kept. Now she, Cya, had a boyfriend. Now Leo had sworn to be her sword and obey her.

Now she knew for sure that Leo didn’t love her, and knew just as certainly that he would be with her forever.

It was time for more change.

She threw on her “field trip” clothes and went to Find Leo. “Hey. You have a few hours free?”

“Oh, yeah. Just let me tell Jeska when I’ll be back, if that’s okay. Ah-” He grinned sheepishly at her. “When will I be back?”

“By dinnertime. I want to scout out a couple sites for something, and I need someone to watch my back and keep me safe from dragons. And, well. Someone to bounce ideas off of, too. Isra’s a great teleporter, but she doesn’t really like reading or study, much to my chagrin, and her idea of fighting is ‘run away; they can’t follow.’” She smiled, a little abashed. “She’s a really good teleporter, though.”

“Ha. Yeah, sure, I’ll be right back. Should I bring anything?”

“I brought lunch already.” She held up a picnic basket. “Although if we’re attacked by dragons, I don’t think it’ll do much good.”

“What are you scouting for? The best site to fight dragons?”

“That’s-” She cut herself off. “I’m not telling you that. But I’m not scouting for it, no.”

“Awww.” He grinned at her. “Here I was hoping you’d tell me where to fight them.”

“When they attack us, how’s that? There’ll be plenty of that, I’m sure.”

“I suppose.

He was far too much fun when he was mock-pouting. Cya swatted him lightly on the ass, because otherwise they’d never get going. “I’ll meet you at the square with the fountain – Denver and Seventh – in ten minutes.”

“Ma’am, yes ma’am.” He was grinning widely. Cya found she was, too.

It was time for another project.

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I’m All About The AU scenes this weekend

This is… just a scene. Came into my head pretty much full-formed

“Jasfe Tlacatl, Jasfe Tlacatl, damnit.“ Cya pounded on the ground uselessly. She didn’t have enough juice left in her to barely say the Words, much less to do any good. He was broken, bleeding, unconscious – dying, no, nearly dead. And there was nobody else close enough to save him.

“Dead gods and dragons, Leo, you are not allowed to die on me,” she swore. “Stop it. Stop it!

He coughed up blood and opened his eyes. “Jasfe Tlacatl,” he gasped, and his wounds began to knit. He lost conciousness again, but it was enough.

He’d live. She passed out, while the battle petered out around them.

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Stay Alive. Your Job is to Stay Alive

Okay, so last night I wrote this: If I Die Young. It’s a seriously non-canon what-if, read the content warnings.

Then Cal wrote back, Don’t Just Survive,

So what could I do but write the next scene?

Still seriously non-canon. Lots of angst.

The first time she remembered the mink in her head, she was four years old and it was admonishing her to listen. Pay attention, it scolded her. To everything. Look, reincarnation isn’t a given and I don’t think you’re strong enough to do it again the way I did, so, for now, your only jobs are to learn everything and to survive.

She’d asked her father, later, when he wasn’t teaching her how to build a snare, “what’s reincarnation?”

Something in the back of her mind had gone oops at her father’s expression, a strange one, a little twisted, but he’d put her on his lap. “Well, my little pricker-bush, there are people that say that a soul can be reborn once it’s passed on, brought back to life. That’s why your given name is what it is – and not just because every second girl-child was named for her – and that’s why we don’t tell anyone what your name is, all right? You’re my Thistle, my prickly-pear. And don’t ask anyone else about reincarnation, all right?”

“All right,” she said, because she paid attention.

It was many more years before she identified the mink in her head as memories. Then she had another conversation with her father.

“If there are memories that come from before I was born…”

Again, the look, and this time she understood the oops. He knew, somehow – not somehow, probably from naming ceremony – what was that? – and it worried him. “Well, thorn-child, I think you know what it means, don’t you?”

“It means I was here before,” she whispered.

“It does. You were here before, and now you’re here again, my daughter, my baby girl. Until you are of age, you are my baby girl.”

Other children in the town had mothers. She’d learned early on not to ask why she didn’t.

“Until I’m of age,” she’d agreed. She’d been seven.

She’d been just a couple months short of ten when her father and the mink in her mind had pulled her out of bed in the middle of the night. “Raiders,” he’d hissed. “Go. You know where to go, we practiced this. Go now.”

Your jobs are to learn everything, and to survive.

Don’t just survive, live.

She took the escape route out of town and walked until she reached Cloverleaf.

“I’m looking for the blond warrior,” she told the guard. His image had been in her mind since she ran away from her home.

And there he was. Kneeling, oh, dead gods, his antlers touching the ground. He looked a wreck. He was still alive.

“My lady.” He sounded a wreck. She didn’t care. “You came back.”

“I came as soon as I could.” She put her hands on his shoulders and tried to sort through all the memories.

Don’t try to make sense of them. Just remember that he is your sword.

“My sword.” The words sounded perfect on her lips. “I’m sorry you had to wait so long.” She knew she was crying, and she only sort of understood why. “But I’m very glad that you waited.”

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