This is in Lady/Sword timeline, and is after everything posted to date. Leo needs some help… Cya Finds it.
“I don’t like this place.” Isra looked both ways and frowned. “There’s something… wrong here.”
“I know.” Cya murmured. “It’s almost Stepford, isn’t it?”
“Like that movie… those movies?” Isra frowned. She’d gone to Doomsday; she’d gotten used to Cya’s references to things that had happened before the world ended, but sometimes it still seemed to throw her.
“Just stay close and be ready to go in a hurry.”
She didn’t really need to tell Isra that. The place was creepy. It was clean, everything crisp, the wall surrounding the town looking more like a suggestion than a wall until you realized that it was topped by three lines of electrical fence.
She had up heavy-duty “we’re not out of place” Mind Workings, and she didn’t think they’d be enough if they were here too long. Luckily – well, planning, not luck – they’d shown up in their target’s front yard.
Cya rang the doorbell. Isra shifted from foot to foot.
The woman that answered the doorbell looked, Cya noticed first, old. She seemed to be in her late 80’s by a pre-apocalypse judge of age, a thin woman with medium-brown skin that seemed fragile and tissue-like and a short halo of curly white hair.
“Ma’am? Doctor?” Cya already had a Working up that projected her voice only in a thin line to exactly where she wanted it to. “I’m hoping you might be willing to come with us. My friend desperately needs a therapist… one who can understand him…. and I have a feeling you might want a new place to live. We’re from Cloverleaf,” she added, and because they had traveled quite a ways to get here, “a small city in what was once Montana, in the – well, it was the US a long time ago.”
The woman stared at them with eyes that were very sharp before nodded crisply. “You’d best come in – if you have no intention of harming me.” She ushered them into her home and closed the door.
Inside, the cottage was as antiseptic and unreal as on the outside. “Is this the friend?” the woman asked. “I’m Billie Rexinger, by the by. Dr. Bilyana Rexinger, Planting-Hands.” She looked down at her shaking hands and frowned. “That was a long time ago.”
“I’m Cya Dayton, Red Doomsday.” She hadn’t used that last name in a long time. Maybe she should steal Leo’s…. no, probably not. “This is Isra, Moonlight, Moondance.” Dr. Rexinger hadn’t been the first one by a long shot to assume he applied to the long, lean Isra with her tight-queued hair and her businesslike clothes which obscured sparse curves. “She’s not the one who needs help, no. My friend, my crewmate, Leofric Lightning-Blade, he…” She sighed. “A long time ago, we were both hurt by our Keepings, by our Keepers.” It had taken her most of that long time to admit it had been both of them. “His… shattered his mind. He was delusional for a long time.”
“But not now.” Dr. Rexinger might look ancient, but her mind was sharp.
Cya reminded herself that she, herself, would look older than this woman if she Masked at her calendar age. “But not now,” she answered carefully. “He fought himself back to himself some time ago. But recently..” She winced. “Recently, we’ve been working on his self-esteem and other issues. I’m a fairly good mind-healer,” she admitted. “I’ve had a lot of practice. But – I told him something that, ah. It broke some of his belief foundation that I didn’t realize was still holding him up. Some ways he’d dealt with being Kept and being abused. And..” She swallowed. “I can Find anything. So I went looking for what he needed to put himself back together.”
The woman was still listening. Cya had a feeling she had practiced that listening face a lot. It was calming, encouraging, and rather impressive. Cya wasn’t sure she liked it being used on herself.
This visit wasn’t about her.
“What he needs is therapy, someone to listen. Someone to help him sort it out. And I, I’m too close to it. I was there for the whole mess. I was there through everything. I hate the woman who hurt him, and I can’t… I can’t hold back enough to help him.”
She hated that. There weren’t words for how badly she hated it. But it was the truth, and right now the truth was important.
She cleared her throat. “What I’m offering is a home, a proper house, in Cloverleaf, which is a settlement -”
“I’ve heard of Cloverleaf,” the doctor cut her off.
“Oh!” Cya ducked her head. “This far away? Well. A house in Cloverleaf as least as big as this one,” she looked around, “with a yard. A stipend while you treat Leo, and a smaller stipend for ten years after that. References to other people who might need your services, and help finding anything you need for relocation. And,” she looked around. “I offer quick and immediate relocation, via Isra, who walks the shadows.”
Isra bowed. She liked it when Cya was melodramatic about her titles.
“You care very strongly about this Leo.”
“He’s my crew. He’s the most important person in my life after my children – and my children are all grown and gone.” It was that simple. It was always that simple.
“Will he cooperate?” The doctor was already opening up a bag and moving things into it. “There’s a wine crate in the kitchen. I like the pans, and there’s food that’s still good in there.”
“He swore to obey me,” Cya murmured. “That’ll get you past the first visit. After that is up to you.”
“Well then.” The doctor nodded. “Twenty minutes, ten if you and your moon-dancer help. And then I can see this Cloverleaf for myself.”
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