A Change in Routine
inventrix‘s Let’s Pretend
Class is in Session
A Brief Reunion
inventrix‘s Unexpected Visitor
Lessons in the Dojo
inventrix‘s from RP logs
Education and Collars
Trouble in Paradise
inventrix‘s Mistakes were Made
Later in the same sequence, after Apollo has been given to Leo, after Leo gets sick of the two of them moping at him separately and encourages them to talk to each other.
Apollo was walking the walls of the city. Not just anyone was allowed up there, but nobody was going to keep the Mayor away, so Cya had climbed up to join him.
“Kiddo?” He looked back at her curiously. “First time you’ve called me that.” He slowed down his pace to let her catch up.
“Yeah, well. I try not to use terms like that with people I might be sleeping with. It just gets a little creepy.” She smiled crookedly, and hoped it wasn’t awful.
“But you didn’t.”
“Yeah, well.” Cya shrugged uncomfortably. “You weren’t comfortable enough being mine for me to risk it.”
“Risk?” His lips quirked.
“Risk.” She wrinkled her nose. “Someone who knew me well might say I’m risk-averse. I think, I think I was risk averse before I even went to addergoole. And then I learned how to minimize risk…”
“This from a woman who got shot stealing a slave?”
He’d learned how to be snotty without being mean. Another thing she’d have to thank Leo for. She smirked faintly. “You’ve been around us long enough to figure that one out.”
It took him a second. And then he nodded. “Martyrs,” he muttered.
“Leo does it so well, but someone’s always had to clean up after him.” She shrugged like he hadn’t been talking about her, and he smirked like he was getting used to evasions.
“I like having Kept.” It had always been something of a guilty pleasure. “But I like having Kept… and not feeling evil about it.” There was a story there, but it could wait for later.
“You’re not evil,” he protested. She smirked tiredly, and paused in her story to Find if there was any trouble on the walls. She could Find nothing, so she kept walking.
“In school, I picked angry boys, guys who would have gotten broken by the wrong Keeper, and I let them be angry all over me, because… well, because they could, and I could, and I didn’t mind it.” She shrugged, because she wasn’t going to explain how Cabal’s anger had felt like fire melting ice, how the way Howard had grumbled had felt like reassurance. “And then I picked people who looked lost, who looked – “
“Blonde and with horns and antlers?”
“Or skinny and dark. Go take a look at Kheper sometime.” She and Leo had joked about it forever. She had a type. She took a breath. “The point is, I got better at Finding, so I Found people that wouldn’t hate being Kept.”
“Blonde guy with antlers who doesn’t mind the collar? That’s a pretty specific set of requirements.”
“I have a pretty aim-able power.” She shrugged a bit. “I got used to low-risk Kept.”
It was a lousy explanation, but he seemed to be filling in the holes on his own. “Leo said you picked Kept you could help.”
She smiled crookedly. “I try. What Luke said… when I can’t Find one of my Kept anymore, it…” It hurt, like a plan she hadn’t remembered to make. “…it sucks.”
“I thought I was invincible,” he muttered. “And…” he thought for a long time before he spoke again. Their feet moved quietly along the walls. “I didn’t ever want to be under someone’s collar again. I kept expecting it to be like it was. And it wasn’t, and I didn’t know what you were waiting for.”
“And you didn’t want it, and you felt betrayed.” Cya nodded slowly. She knew about feeling betrayed. “You’re doing well with Leo.”
“I didn’t want to. But…” He shrugged awkwardly. “He wasn’t a stranger. And… He didn’t know what he was doing.”
Cya found herself laughing awkwardly. “Not the first time my plans have been the problem.”
He hesitated, his feet stilling, and looked at her. “Why did you give me to Leo?”
“Because I couldn’t help you. We couldn’t get past the bullshit to listen.”
“You wanted to help me.” He smiled a little, crooked, like he’d been watching the way Leo tended to smile – which he probably had. “So, uh. I think you did?”
Cya squinted at him, and then found herself smiling. “You’re a good kid, Apollo.”
“Yeah, well.” He shrugged, but he did hug her back. “Think it’s rubbing off on me.”
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