This is another commission from @Momerath@wandering.shop for another chapter of Beekeeper.
This chapter involves more violence, blood, and Theron being an asshole.
“You can’t have her,” Amrit explained, or tried to, to Theron. “I’m hers. So she can’t be yours.”
“Sorry,” he muttered to the woman. “It’ll be a min-“
If Mieve had not already seen Amrit’s healing power, she’d have been horrified at the way he passed out, blood bubbling out of his mouth. He looked – he looked dead.
She wasted a half second, a heart beat, a lifetime processing what he’d said. But she didn’t have the luxury to think about it right now.
Theron was staring at her. “He’s yours.” His voice was flat, unbelieving, even though it hadn’t been ten minutes since he’d been assuming Amrit was her new Kept. “You never gave me that much leeway. You never treated me with that much respect.”
“I’ve learned a lot since then.”
That wasn’t even the crux of it, but it was a good beginning. She stared at Theron. “He’s mine,” she agreed, “and you need to leave now.”
“If you think I’m going to leave without you-“
“Well then I’m just looking at past events, aren’t I?” she snapped. “Seriously, Theron, this isn’t the time before the end of the world anymore. Even then, stalking your ex wasn’t cool, and now – now it’s just pitiful. All the things you could be doing with your life, and here you are, what, trying to kidnap me?”
The man with the broken hand was trying to do some sort of Working. Mieve choked him with an effort of her telekinetic power. “One moment,” she told Theron, as if they were having a chat on some street while they sipped coffee from paper cups. “Tempero panida,” she began, and much to her surprise, Theron didn’t stop her, as if he, too, was listening to some sort of rules of engagement that belonged to a world before everything had collapsed.
Her bees and the nearby wasps had done all they could for the moment, but they were in the woods, and there were plenty of other creatures around. A crowd of mice climbed up the bow-man’s body; two of them managed to jam themselves into his mouth. That was going to slow him down, at the very least.
“He deserves worse for shooting Amrit,” she told Theron. “And you do, for bringing these people here, for attacking my home, for all of this. Where should we start with you, Theron? Should I take you back where I found you? They told me such nice things about you at that market, and you did your best to pretend those were all true. I loved you, I think. I’m pretty sure. And then-“
“You loved me?” He stared at her. “You loved me? You owned me. You bought me and you used me and you threw me away when you were done with me, and just because that’s how you use your bees and your turkeys and everything else around here doesn’t mean that’s how you should use people!”
Mieve shifted, taking a step back. A lot of what he’d said today had hurt. A lot of it had struck home.
Nothing had hit like this, a punch to the gut.
“I don’t—” she began. Amrit. Amrit. She took a step backwards, to be sure she was protecting him. She didn’t know what the man she’d overrun with mice would do once he managed to get himself de-rodented, as she presumed he would manage sooner or later.
She had even less idea what Theron would do, and there he was, bleeding, glaring at her, barely standing, still hating her.
“Oh, come on, Theron.”
Mieve whipped around. The woman. Amrit had managed to get her to swear, but that was contingent on him healing her, and there she was, still unhealed.
She didn’t look like she was in any shape to fight them, but Mieve had been surprised by people in worse shape than that before.
“Bolo,” Theron growled, “stay out of this.”
“It’s a little late for that. All your talk about being owned and hating it, all your talk about how a Keeper is, all your talk about Owning people — why are we here?”
“You know why we’re here!”
“I am beginning to get a feeling why you’re here. But I’m looking at a woman with a Kept who loves her, I’m looking at a small farm in the middle of nowhere. And this lady could’ve asked anything of me and Cannon for the healing, and what did she ask? That we go away and leave her alone. Why are we here, Theron?”
“You got your payment,” he snarled.
“Yeah, and it’s not nearly enough for almost dying. Who’s using people now?”
“That’s different! I didn’t buy you! I didn’t drag you from your home and make you work for me and —”
“You know. I don’t know how you remember the situation, but you sure as hell paid money for me to someone who had a right to tell me what to do — and you did actually buy Markov and then have him work off the debt doing this work — and I have no idea where we are, now, but you dragged—” She grunted. “Fuck. If I die here I’m gonna die pissed at you, Theron.”
“If you die here you weren’t worth what I paid for you,” he snarled. “And you. I would’ve made a nice life here. You could’ve been happy being Mine. I would’ve made sure you were happy,” he added, in a tone that was nothing but threat. “You would’ve had your bees and your stupid little farm and all of that, and you’d have been happy with it. But you can’t let me have anything I want, can you, you stupid bitch!”
He lunged at her with the last word, but Mieve hadn’t had a problem seeing it coming. She had already reached out with her power, feeling everything in the clearing, everyone, and getting the tool most appropriate for the job.
She’d let him go on, telling her all of his awful, ridiculous plans, buying herself time to use less energy to fuel her power. Even that much expenditure was making her feel a little light-headed.
But it was enough. The hatchet flew across the clearing and landed in Theron’s neck just as he lunged at her.