Beauty-Beast 27: Memory

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Ctirad, at Timaios’ gentle suggestion, put some pants on before Sal came upstairs, Danny immediately behind with a large tray of what must pass for finger foods in a household of fae.

“I want you to unlock Ctirad’s lost memories,” Timaios told Sal, with no preamble except a “thanks for coming up here.”

Ctirad was watching Sal closely.  From the expression, this sort of thing was not unheard of in this household, nor was it beyond Sal’s capabilities.

“What’s the boy think of that, sir?”

“It was his idea.  Well, it was my idea, but he agreed without prompting.  The impression I get is that a lot of it was done with orders.  Thus, there’s no Workings to work around—”

“With all due respect, that’s just going to make it trickier.  His own mind has decided — well, had it decided for him, but it comes down to the same thing — that he needs to not have those memories.  I’m going to have to invade him pretty deepl—” Sal trailed off and turned to look directly at Ctirad.  “I’m going to be really far into your mind.  You understand?  I’m going to see things nobody else has seen.”

Four days ago, Ctirad realized, that would have filled him with terror.  He nodded slowly.  “I don’t think I’m in any danger from you.”

“Good.  You’re not, of course.  You Belong to the boss and I would never hurt anything of his – but more than that – sorry, boss – I don’t reveal the secrets I hear, I don’t mess with people’s brains without their willing, informed, consent, and, in short, I’m not an asshole.  But I am going to be looking in your mind, and if you trust me, it will make the whole thing easier.  Now, try to get comfortable.  This is going to take a while, and it’s going to feel weird.  Boss, you want to stay close to him and let me know if anything goes wrong?”

Wrong?  Ctirad looked sharply at Sal, but Sal’s expression hadn’t changed – all business, nothing else – and a glance at Timaios revealed nothing, either. Ctirad swallowed and nodded.  Comfortable.  He shifted a little this way and that, but nothing quite felt right.

“You can put your head back on my lap,” Timaios suggested.  “There’s nothing wrong with that if it’s comfortable for you, and, like Sal said, you’re going to be here for a bit.  You might even drift off.”

Wrong didn’t seem to go with drifting off, but Ctirad lay back down, his head in Timaios’ lap, and tried to relax.

“All right.  Where was the first lost memory that you noticed?”  Sal dragged over a chair and sat down looking at Ctirad, entirely ignoring Timaios.

“The McCurdy Building.  Going there with Si – with Ermenrich.  I remember being there, and – well, that’s about it.”

“Mmm.  All right, we can start there.  Picture what you can.”  Sal chanted the words to a Working – a Mind Working using Ctirad’s name as Ctirad oro’Timaios.

It was the first time he’d heard it, and he found that it settled on him comfortably, like a blanket.  He snuggled closer to his Owner and thought about the McCurdy Building.

They’d walked in together, Ctirad standing as bodyguard.  The door had been locked; Ermenrich had used a key.  Then they’d been walking through old clothing racks and the detritus of a dead store.  Nothing exciting there.  There had been-

“Easy, I’ve got it.  Here we go.”

There had been a door.  It opened like the door was in his mind, like opening it gave him back the memories.  A door, innocuous, marked something like Employees Only.  Ermenrich had unlocked it and they had headed downstairs.

He remembered thinking I didn’t know this place had a basement.  He didn’t remember saying anything.  That Ctirad was usually mute, even if not ordered to silence.  It had proven to be much smarter than opening his mouth, even if he wasn’t, generally, known for his intelligence.

They had gone down the stairs, long stairs, with Ctirad going first, his gun out.  “Threat?” he’d asked, against his better judgement.

“Of course there’s a threat, you fluff-brain, why do you think you’re here?”

That didn’t tell him anything about the threat, but Ctirad had decided not to ask any more stupid questions.

Instead, he treated it like hostile territory, details unknown — moving cautiously around every corner, watching the shadows until he was certain they weren’t moving.

That got him grabbed by the collar while he was staring at the strange shape of a patch of darkness.  “Stop playing cop and come on.  This way.”

He struggled for a moment with the order — a stop that had nothing to do with what he was doing — but his body was moving already, following his employer, even though he was supposed to go first, supposed to.

“There’s a blank here, and it’s deeper than the rest.”  Sal murmured another Working.  “I think it’s a trauma blanking, rather than an order or a Working.  Permission to dig deeper?”

Ctirad waited, his head on his master’s lap.  

“That’s your decision, Ctirad,” Timaios murmured after a moment.  “Tell Sal, honestly, if you’re all right with a deeper probe.”

“Of course.”  Ctirad blinked his eyes open.  “The information might be there, right?”

“The information might be there,” Sal agreed slowly.  “But I might see things you don’t want me to see and I might trigger older, worse memories.”

Ctirad looked up at the driver, who was looking down at Ctirad with a furrowed brow.  “I don’t have any secrets.  Anything my lord needs is his.  And I don’t have any worse memories than being Kept by Ermenrich.”

“You don’t need to be fully honest anymore if you don’t want, kitten.”  Timaios petted Ctirad’s brow.  “I’m sorry I forced that out of you.”


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4 thoughts on “Beauty-Beast 27: Memory

  1. That’s a remarkable amount of change in four days. And Timaios is also learning exactly how much he still has to pussyfoot around Ctirad with orders and such. I’m guessing Ctirad’s reaction to the name Ctirad oro’Timaios (which I’ve just noticed is misspelled Ctirad oro’Timaois in the story) is in no small part from the Keeping.

    I wonder if Ctirad really does have no worse memories, and what we’re about to see as Sal pokes around…

  2. Yeah!

    Sauergeek is right about the spelling, and it’s a slip that keeps happening. I advise a search-and-replace-all.
    s/Timaois/Timaios/g is the Working that comes to mind.

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