Tag Archive | yr17

Shifting, a continuation (finish-ation) of Addergoole yr17

After Shades, for my Third Finish It Bingo Card. Addergoole Year 17.

“Why don’t you ever get angry?”

It had been three days since Abrelle’s hair had started tinging blue, three days where both she and Kevin had tried to pretend that nothing had changed, three days where she desperately wished that his Change involved changing colors, or that she had any skill with Hugr, emotions. She knew what she was feeling. He knew what she was feeling; he could read it in her hair. But he hadn’t given her any clue what he was feeling, and that was driving her a little bonkers (which, it appeared, was a weird shade of chartreuse, in small stripes).

He’d picked another fight, and she was in the process of buckling him up in a series of straps, mummifying him with leather. She’d done it so many times already (and it was only November!) that she hardly had to think about it: grab collar, hook the apparatus into position, grab arms, start buckling. She hadn’t even been focusing on him; she was still halfway in the book she’d been reading for VanderLinden’s Lit class.

She blinked at him, finished the next strap, and considered the the question. “Thinking,” she told him, so he didn’t think she was ignoring him. She moved down him, smoothing his fingers against his sides with a gentle petting motion before buckling the strap around his upper thighs.

He usually took until she got to his knees to settle down, but this time he was calm already. “Take your time.”

“My Keeper,” she said slowly, as she buckled the strap above his knees… “Sit down, here, that’s good, thank you. My Keeper, he liked to bait me. And then he would tell me things like ‘no, a good ladylike Kept doesn’t lose her temper.'”

“Didn’t know you very well, did he?” He pressed his ankles together while she got the last strap buckled.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” She swung his legs up onto the bed and straightened him out, making sure everything was laying smoothly.

“I mean…” He wriggled against the straps, now that they were all in place. “You’re not exactly ladylike. That sounds like someone who drinks tea with their pinkie up and doesn’t want to break a nail. I’ve seen you in combat training. If you really wanted to, you wouldn’t need orders to hold me still. Or straps.” He wriggled a little more. “But, I mean, he’s gone. And you still don’t get mad, no matter what I do.”

“That’s… not exactly right.”

“Your hair doesn’t ever change, well, it does now, but still, you don’t ever really express anything, you just take it all and then you tie me up and… I calm down and you don’t do anything.” He paused. “Wait. Wait, are you saying you are mad at me? Shit, shit-shit, shit!” He started pulling more intently against the restraints, actually trying to get out.

He couldn’t. But Abrelle sat down and pulled him until his head was on her lap anyway. She stroked his hair and petted him until he stopped swearing.

He looked up at her, frowning, lip-bitten. “I don’t know what to think. If you’re mad and you don’t show it, how am I supposed to know anything you’re thinking. How’m I supposed to know if I do something wrong?”

Rather than answering the difficult question, Abrelle raised her eyebrows at him and smirked. “I think I’ve been pretty clear when you do something wrong.”

“Well, yeah, but if you showed anything, then I’d know before I hit the “go sit in the corner and be quiet” spot. Or, you know, know if you were angry instead of just wondering if you thought something was a bad habit you ought to nip in the bud.”

“Is there a – no, you’re right, of course there’s a difference.” She’d been Kept, after all.

“Yeah. See? So… why don’t you get angry? I mean, why don’t you show anything? Your hair doesn’t even flicker.”

“I…” Abrelle stroked his hair for a little while. “You cannot tell anyone. You cannot even hint at it, you can’t whisper about it, I’d rather you didn’t think about it much while you were out in classes but I won’t make that an order unless you want me to.” Thought orders had messed her up more than anything her Keeper had done to her; she tried very hard not to do those to Kevin. “Okay?”

He stilled and looked up at her, forehead furrowed. “It’s serious. And you don’t want – what, no, not other students. The staff to know.” He chewed on his lip. “Is it okay? Is it hurting you? If you’re in pain somehow or damaging yourself, you can’t tell me not to tell the staff, that’s horrid.”

She pet his hair soothingly. He had the softest hair. He’d changed shampoos a week into being Kept, when it’d started to be clear how much time she’d spend running her hands through his hair. She definitely liked the feel of the new stuff better, and was very pleased that he’d made the change, presumably for her.

She took a minute to find her words. “It’s not something that’s damaging me. It’s not hurting me. But it might cause problems with some of the staff, and I don’t want… I’m not ready to deal with that.”

He looked thoughtful. “How about… you tell me, and if I think it’s something to worry about, then you come up with a time when you’re ready to deal with it and the staff-problems?” He wriggled cutely in her lap and gave her a wide-eyed and innocent expression. “I want to know, I really do. But I don’t want to be stuck not being able to help you.”

“I’m surprised you care.”

“I Belong to you,” he pointed out. “That comes with a bit of caring.”

“Oh.” She thought she might be disappointed. She wasn’t sure what that said.

“Hey. Hey.” He wriggled in her lap until she looked at him. “Hey, your hair’s doing a thing. Come on, I was teasing, or, you know, not being entirely honest. I, uh. We butt heads, but I like you, okay? I mean… really like you.”

“Like you said, you Belong to me.”

“No, no. I mean, yes. Yours. But come on.” He squirmed demonstratively. “You get me. And, uh. I like it when we just sit around and talk and stuff. And there’s stuff. I like that, too.”

She wanted to say you’re not making any sense but he was. And he was smiling. Oh, her hair must be doing something.

“I’m pretty sure that’s a good color. So… you like me and I like you and if that involves a lot of bondage, well, I’m actually not complaining about that… .but you’re going to tell me your secret now?” He gave her the hopeful wide-eyed look again.

She sighed. “Okay. I need one of my arms back, though.” She slid her left arm out from under him and fished out the necklace living down in her cleavage. “So. My Keeper. He didn’t like displays of emotion, didn’t really like emotion, especially not negative emotions. And I was… very emotional. I was very unhappy in the collar and I really didn’t like him. I still don’t like him.”

“Urgh.” He wrinkled his nose. “Sounds like an asshole.”

Abrelle snorted. “YOu’ll get no argument from me on that point. Except maybe that you’re not using a strong enough word. ANyway… he didn’t like emotions, and, well. You might have noticed the Keeping makes emotions, and… being ‘human’ makes emotions, and being pregnant….” she sighed and waited for him to stop the whole-body nose-wrinkle sort of disgust expression he always made when kids came up. “THat makes emotions, too. And being in trouble for having emotions…”

“Just makes things worse. Is he still here?”

“No. No, he graduated last year. Besides,” she tapped his nose gently, “he’s not your revenge, dear. He’s mine. So… I had, have, a friend who is very good with magical items, and I had her made something — because I wasn’t allowed to do WOrkings, and, even if I was, I’m awful at the Emotions word — something to shift my emotions. Not destroy them, just take the emotions and offe them as a shift to vision, a color, like my hair. THen I could decide if I wanted to feel them or not.”

“Hunh.” He considered. “So… the blue?”

“Well, at first it was supposed to be just negative emotions. But what we did was slide the thing in my bra for a week and have it read everything I was feeling, and then extrapolate from there what it should block and what colors it should show. Love… I wasn’t feeling any love at the time, let’s say that. ” She stroked his hair, waiting for the horror or disgust or confusion.

You are feeling worried, suggested the greenish-blue haze over her vision. Suppress? Allow?

Allow she decided. The trinket would probably not last much longer anyway. She was going to have to get used to her emotions before they all came flooding back.

“Your hair’s a funny… a couple funny colors.” He twitched in his bonds. “So… your friend made you a magical item that, uh, it shuts off your emotions? You get to decide what you’re going to feel and what you’re not?”

“I did.”

“Do you, um. Do you want me to be like that?”

She didn’t need his hair to turn colors to tell her he was worried, too. “Do I look like a giant asshole?” she asked, possibly more sharply than she’d intended. Having the emotions back did strange things to her speaking.

His Adam’s apple bobbed. “No. No, ma’am. It’s just… uh. You haven’t been Kept in ages, years, right?”

“Since my first year,” she agreed.

“And you’re still wearing it. I mean, it looks like you’re starting to let stuff through? But if you’re still wearing it, when you obviously don’t have to care what your Keeper thinks anymore…” He looked away and struggled at the straps a little bit. “I just thought,” he muttered to her knee, “maybe you preferred things that way? Quiet? Calm.”

She stroked his hair and considered his words. “I like you the way you are. I like… well.” She ducked her head and found herself smiling, “the excuse to tie you up.”

“But you’re…” He was flushed but a smile was creeping in at his lips, “you’re still wearing it? So you like me, uh, excitable?”

“I like you the way you are,” she repeated. “And I really do like this.” She tugged on the strap around his arms.

His flush darkened and he looked away. “I like it too,” he muttered, “but I’d like it better if, uh. If you responded.”

“If I respond,” Abrelle picked her way through the words carefully, “it’s going to get loud. And I might say things I don’t mean.”

“I say things I don’t mean all the time! And sometimes I say things I do mean but wouldn’t say if I wasn’t shouting.”

“I know.” She stroked his hair. She could tell from the way he was struggling that tying him up wasn’t going to do it this time, or, at least, it wasn’t going to be enough on its own. “I’m just warning you. It’s going to get pretty shouty in here.”

“Well, then, so I won’t be alone shouting.” He hesitated. “And, uh. So I’ll know I got a reaction, maybe I won’t have to shout quite so much, too.”

“Hrrm.” She smiled crookedly at him and caught his hand, squeezing his fingers. “But I’m still going to tie you up, you know.”

“Well, yeah. I mean. That part’s fun, although…”


“I mean,” He shrugged jerkily against the straps. “You’ve got me all tied up, but, I mean, I…” He shook his head.

“Tell me,” Abrell ordered. Her vision suggested guilt, and she tolt it she didn’t want to bother with that right now. She could indulge in guilt later, when she’d figured out if something was going wrong with her Kept.

“Urgh,” he complained, and then, quickly, ‘I just wondered why you kept my clothes on all the time? I mean,” he spoke a little more slowly, the pressure of the order clearly off, “you get me all tied up, you could do anything you wanted to me. I Belong to you, you can do anything you want to me. And it’s not like you’re afraid I’m not gonna say if I don’t like something.”

Abrelle shut her mouth. That had been almost exactly what she’d been going to say.

He could tell, too. “Look, you’re not… your Keeper, and I trust you.” He twitched at the straps. “When I ask you — like, okay, the once I asked you to untie me, you, well, you untied me. I trust you,” he repeated. “I wish, you know, I could tell when you were angry, ‘cause then the bond gets all loud in my head making up options, but, uh, really, I wish if you were gonna tie me up so much, maybe you would do something with me once you’d gotten me tied up?” He wriggled in what Abrelle thought was supposed to be an enticing manner but mostly looked adorable.

Abrelle let the affectionate amusement wash through her and chuckled at him. “All right. But I’m going to warn you…”

“It’s going to be wild?” He smirked playfully. “You warned me about that already. Shouting, oh no. However will I survive?”

She rolled him onto his side so that he was off of her lap, catching him before he could roll too far away, and leaned down, very deliberately, and bit his earlobe. “My temper isn’t the only thing that’s gotten repressed over the last couple years,” she murmured into his ear, “and it’s not just going to be shouting that’s going to get wild.”

His cheeks turned pink — and his thin pants did nothing to hide the other signs of his sudden interest. “Oh no,” he repeated, but his voice was shaky and almost eager. “Wild, oh, no. However will I survive?”

Abrelle caught sight of her hair, which was turning deep blue and purple in vivid stripes. She slid the emotion-catcher out of her bra and left it on the nightstand timer. “Let’s find out, hrrm?”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1212016.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

A Chance

Written to [personal profile] chanter_greenie‘s prompt here to my Summer Giraffe Call.

It was not technically a prison. Even if it had been, Aodh did not think he’d mind. He had sunlight and fresh air, a stone house that did not catch fire, and copies of as many books as he wanted to read. He had teachers working with him patiently on his still-unreliable fire powers, and, more importantly, people helping him create Workings that protected his own body from the results of his flames.

He didn’t think he could leave, but Aodh did not mind all that much. He remembered too well what happened when his power got out of control.

Still, when Luke came walking up the lane, Aodh found himself tensing. He resisted the urge to run and hide; there was nowhere he could hide from Luke; there was nowhere he could really hide from anyone, if they really wanted to see him.

Luke was accompanied by three younger-looking men. As they came closer, Aodh saw that one of them was tall, over eight feet. One of them had gills and a green tint to his complexion. The third had a tail, tucked around into his front pocket. All three were carrying large bags and wearing plain black clothing.

“Hey, Aodh. These three would like to talk to you for a few minutes.” Luke stepped back. He wasn’t scowling; he’d been scowling for months. But he wasn’t smiling, either.

The one with the tail stepped forward and offered a seven-fingered hand to shake. “Hey, Aodh, I’m Conrad. I hear you can get pretty hot.”

Aodh shook the hand, a little surprised. Most people didn’t want to talk to him. “I can, uh. Yeah.” He winced. He could melt steel when he focused, but sometimes that meant his control of his protective Workings failed him. “Yeah.”

“We’ve got some monsters we need to kill, and it seems like extreme heat is a big weakness. Think you could help us?” His smile was self-disparaging, but Aodh noted he held himself much like Luke did, and he had a series of scars below his chin, running down under his shirt.

Aodh swallowed. “Is this the, uh.” He didn’t have a TV. Televisions didn’t survive around him. “The… war?”

“Yeah.” Conrad’s smile slipped away. “It is, and we could use all the help we could get.”

Aodh looked down at the ground for a minute. “I could help? Really help?”

“Man,” Conrad admitted, “you might be our only hope.”

It was going to hurt, a lot. But nothing would ever hurt as much as those first few months. “I’ll do it.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1132439.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

Mentor… and Student

Rix_Scaedu‘s commissioned continuation of Mentor-Student. Her name is Eurydice; it just never comes up in conversation.

“Well,” Doug admitted to the angry young woman in front of him, “we’re stuck with each other. They think we can work together.”

His Student – or so it seemed it was going to be – raised her eyebrow at him. “You sound so thrilled. Don’t go throwing me a party or anything.”

“Well,” Doug grunted, both embarrassed and annoyed, “you’re right. It’s not how it’s supposed to go.”

“Wait.” She leaned forward. “Say that again.”

Doug didn’t bother asking which part she wanted to hear. He could guess. “You’re right.”

“Awww, yeah.” She lit her lighter again. “I could get used to that. So you don’t like ‘em screwing with the system, either. So why’d they stick you with me? We can ‘work together?’ What’s that code for? You can brainwash me better?”

Doug barked out a laugh. “Not the brainwashing sort.”

“So what then? Are you the arsonist sort?” She flicked her lighter again. Doug imagined that had made some adults flinch, back out in the world. Maybe here, too, considering the fires she’d already lit.

Doug wasn’t worried. He muttered a Working and flicked up a small flame in the palm of his hand. “Sometimes.”

Her eyes widened. “Woah.”

Doug felt his lips curling into a real smile. “Woah,” he agreed. He closed the hand to vanish the fire and gave himself a moment to think about the words he’d use.

“Forget why they wanted us together,” he started slowly. “They are not responsible for this. I can teach you.” He watched something in her face start to close up and he made a wild guess. He smiled the way he might at the start of a battle — a little fierce and a lot ready. “And I’m not afraid of you.”

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Summer Plans

written to [personal profile] inventrix‘s prompt. Year 17 of the Addergoole School.

The teachers had been on edge all year. Dáin figured it had something to do with the stuff that had been happening when he came to school – portals opening to other worlds, people disappearing and reappearing, miracles and horrid things all over the world, if the news was to be believed at all. But the news didn’t come through – no TV came through at all, down in Addergoole. The older kids said it used to work, but something about the shifting wards or the weather patterns had turned out to mess with any incoming signal. Phones to the outside didn’t work well either, if they worked at all.

The teachers being on edge had bothered Dáin more than the lack of contact. Addergoole had this way of sucking you in, making you forget about the outside world. He’d barely thought about his parents, just enough to send them a couple slightly-guilty letters. He’d thought about his old boyfriend even less, and the letter he’d sent him had been a lot more guilty.

Mostly, though, Dáin had been pretty engrossed in his first year of school. There had been magic to learn, an awkward Change to handle, his Keeper to, uh, be Kept by, and the rest of his classmates to mostly-try-not-to-bother, as per orders.

And now he was standing in the Auditorium. His bags were packed. His Keeper had graduated. He was ready to go home and play video games all summer and not think about magic or collars or babies or anything else about Addergoole until September rolled around.

The gym teacher strode to the front of the room and cleared his throat. Then Director Regine and Professor VanderLinden joined him. But it was Luke who spoke.

“In June of last year, strange things began happening all over the world. The human media didn’t know what to make of it, so I’m imagining the reports you got were pretty sparse.”

Dáin swallowed. Strange things. That was an understatement if he’d ever heard one.

“We weren’t sure what to make of it, either, when it first started. We thought maybe it was a world-wide Nedetakaei attack – even though the Nedetakaei have been very bad at any sort of coordinated fighting. It turns out…” His wing folded tight to his chest, and when he continued, Luke sounded not only sad, but miserable. “It turns out that the Departed Gods are back.”

Shouting erupted. Dáin sat down slowly. This was – it was impossible. The Departed Gods were a myth, the sort of creation story nobody really believes.

The projection screen behind Regine lit up. Dáin swallowed against a hard lump in his throat. That was… no. The rubble, the fire…

“This was Pittsburgh, four weeks ago. As far as we’ve been able to tell, the fires have been burning for months and are still burning.” Luke cleared his throat. “There were survivors. In every city, there were some survivors that we know of. But there weren’t many – there weren’t nearly enough.” He hung his head, and for a moment, he was silent. Dáin didn’t blame him. He didn’t feel like saying anything either.

The rest of the auditorium seemed to feel the same, at least for a minute. Then, shouting erupted.

Dáin didn’t have anything to say. Over the din, Regine’s voice carried. “I am afraid this is not a hoax.” She sounded genuinely sad. “If you wish to go home for the summer, we will do our best to help you make arrangements. But there is no guarantee that any sort of mass transportation — airplanes, busses, trains — will be running, nor that gas stations will have fuel for cars. We do recommend that you stay here, at least while we work to ascertain the situation fully.

“That being said,” she continued, “if you do wish to leave Addergoole for the summer, gather to the left of the auditorium. If you wish to stay, you may wander as you wish.”

Dáin looked around, watching as people moved slowly, shuffling as if they were ill, one way or the other. He couldn’t seem to make himself move.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1083020.html. You can comment here or there.


He’d tried “no,” “fuck no” and “no way in a billion fucking years.” Doug had tried everything he thought he’d work and a few things he’d known wouldn’t, but in the end, he’d lost anyway. His father had put his foot down, and Doug had found himself sitting in his own office, staring across his desk at a new student.

“I’m going to be your Mentor.”

She glared back at him and worked her mouth for a moment, like the whole idea tasted bad. “They told me. Thought we were supposed to get a choice.”

Doug swallowed most of a laugh. “Yeah, me too. Guess we blew that one.”

She raised her eyebrows, raised her bic, and lit up a tiny flame. “Rock on.”

Un-slump-me prompt call

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/983020.html. You can comment here or there.


To [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s prompt to this [community profile] trope_bingo card.

This fills my “Matchmaker” square.

“He’s a brat. A bastard.”

“We’re all bastards here, Sabine. Almost all.” Querida’s correction came fast on the heels of a glare from George.

Sabine added her own glare to the mix. “That’s not what I meant and you know it. The little shit is either going to end up cy’Fridmar or cy’Drake, and neither way is it going to be my problem. “

“Oh, come on, Sabine, you know that it wouldn’t be that bad if you had a collar on him.”

“Why are you pushing this so hard, George? I’d have figured you’d be, i don’t know, against Keeping.”

“A Keeping, done properly, is not inherently sinful. I have faith that you would treat the boy properly, and, considering what he’s going to end up with otherwise…”

“Now that’s just fighting dirty. What’s more, it’s fighting dirty and I’m not going to take it.”


“She’s a bitch. She’s a terrifying bitch and I’m not going there with anyone, much less her.”

“I understand, Holles. However, for all that Sabine can come off as a ‘bitch’ to you, I think you need to consider the possibility.”

“I told you, I have no intention of giving into this stupid shit for anyone, much less that bitch.” He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Professor Valerian. “And why do you care, anyway? You’re not my Mentor, you’re not her Mentor…”

“Shira Pelletier sees the way things might be. I’m not that good. What I can see, sometimes, is how people might click.”

“Your innate power is matchmaking?”

“No. But I have developed a skill in it.” She was implacable. Professor Valerian outside of class was often like that – terrifyingly direct and utterly immovable. It was like trying to argue with some old oak tree. The tree might not hit back, but it was going to win.

He had to try, anyway. “There’s no way. Nobody trapped me on Hell Night; I’m home free. Can we drop this now?”


“Hey, look, it’s Bible Boy. Does your religion allow you to play pool?”

“Cillian. Tzefira. Donahue.” George nodded to each of them in turn. “I’m here to make a deal.”

Holles didn’t dare hope. He didn’t dare anything, even watch, but he couldn’t really stop himself from listening.

“A deal.” Donahue took over the conversation. “We were just playing a lovely game of pool.”

“You were hustling the young man after Tzefira got him drunk. It’s not hardly a fair game.”

What? Well, he was a little tipsy, but it was just a game of pool. The stakes hadn’t been for real… had they?

Yeah… yeah, they had. And he was losing pretty badly.

“And what of it? There’s no rules against cheating, or we’d all be having quite a different life.”

“Of course there isn’t. But, considering the particular interest certain people have taken in this kid, maybe you might want to think about this deal before it lands on your head.”

“And what are you going to offer me that’s sweeter than his squirming panicking self and the things he will do to get out of a bad situation?”

Querida stepped forward around George. “We have some ideas.”


Sabine stared at the boy. She was uncertain why Querida and George had bound his hands behind his back, except that it added more than a little force to the words they were saying.

In this situation, she could’t, or at least wouldn’t, say I told you I didn’t want him. Not when they were passing him over collared and bound.

“This is an interesting solution,” she said instead.

“He was going to end up under Donahue for a year, and neither of us thought that was a lovely idea. Besides, almost walking himself into a trap has softened him up a little bit.” Querida patted Holles on the shoulder. “Mind you, I’m not saying he’s not still a brat. But I think he’s a brat you can work with.”

She didn’t have that many choices. “All right, then. Holles…”

“You’re still a bitch, too.”

“Of course I am.” Nobody else would put up with you. “Come here.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/642400.html. You can comment here or there.

Signs of Love

For [personal profile] itsamellama‘s Prompt.

Moore is from a story I’m working on for Addergoole: Year 9, although he’s a Yr. 16 Student.

Cumhai is from A Couple Helping Hands and Littermate and Strange Favors

Addergoole has a landing page here

“Found anyone you like yet?” Cúmhaí tossed Moore a beer and flopped down in the chair across from him.

He shook his head. “Nah.” Being an upperclassman was still a little weird to him; he wasn’t sure how Cúmhaí was adjusting as quickly as she was. “They all talk too much.”

She snorted, her face twisting while she doubled over in what he assumed had to be laughter. When she looked up at him again, she’d gotten it down to a smirk. “Such a guy.”

“Hey.” He gestured at his ears. “No fun when they can’t slow down enough to make themselves understood.” Much to his frustration, his Change nor his Words had come with an easy fix for the deafness that had plagued him from childhood.

Cúmhaí’s smirk slid off her face. “Okay, for you, I can get that. But…” One of her doggish ears twitched. “I don’t think you’ve met all the new students yet. I’ll be back in a little bit.”

“Coo…” It was too late; she was already gone. Moore leaned back against the couch and prepared himself for a blind date.


“Right in here, no, he doesn’t bite. Well, my brother does, but I’m not introducing you to my brother right now. Here. This is Moore. Moore, this is Janoah.”

Cúmhaí ushered the slender girl in and half-pushed her at the chair that was normally her own. She looked straight at Moore. “You two make nice, now.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He rolled his eyes at her. This was not going to end well, was it?

Across the coffee table from him, Janoah was looking at him with wide eyes. Deaf? she signed.

He stared at her. What?

Sorry, sorry. You deaf?

Yes. He found his hand gestures getting excited. You?

She shook her head, color coming to her pale cheeks. She had very nice cheeks. Moore shook his head. Distracted. He didn’t need distractions right now.

Mute. Her signs were better than anyone he’d signed with in a long time. She added a complex sentence that meant, more or less, “as long as I’ve been aware.”

He spared a glance for Cúmhaí, who was watching from the corner. “You win.” He spared his crew-mate a grin, and turned back to the pretty girl with the eloquent hands.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/482752.html. You can comment here or there.

Shades, a story of #Addergoole yr17 for the Giraffe Call

To [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s prompt.
Addergoole has a landing page here

It was the easy joke that Abrelle was cold. Ha, ha. Snake, cold-blooded. Emotionally frigid. She’d gotten through three years of Addergoole without making very many friends; her former Keeper’s crew sufficed for companionship and back-watching, and her former Keeper had taken care of the first of her required two children for her.

It was the easy joke that she was cold, and she preferred it like that. If nobody thought she had emotions, nobody would try to get in. If nobody tried to get in (The way her former Keeper had. The way their child had) then nobody could hurt her again.


The 17th Cohort kids were freaked out. Nobody blamed them, really: even the 14th Cohort were a little twitchy; even the teachers were a little twitchy. The Gods were coming back. The fairies were turning out to be real.

They almost cancelled Hell Night. By sworn agreement of all the Crews, they kept the hazing ritual low-key and far more mellow than any of them could ever remember.

It didn’t stop them from Keeping people, of course. Many of them – Abrelle included, of course – still needed to finish their graduation requirements. Not a one of them thought that the return of mysterious Gods would get them out of Regine’s schemes. And, while the safety of the wards seemed a little more inviting, the world wasn’t that bad yet, and none of them wanted to be trapped in the school any longer than they had to be.


Abrelle grabbed Kevin through the simple expedient of a couple Intinn workings and one good snare trap, a trick her crew-mate Gillian had used to good effect three years running. He fought, which she expected, kicked and spat, which she didn’t fault him for, swore, and dangling upside down from her trap, grew claws and tried to rip her face open, which she hadn’t quite been expecting.

She wrapped his claws in mittens, carried him to the Doctor’s, and gave him just enough orders to keep him from hurting himself or her too much.

That set the tone for their first month together. Kevin fought, spat, kicked, swore, complained, and then would settle down for several hours, sometimes because Abrelle restrained him, sometimes because he ran out of fire. Abrelle didn’t mind. She found she liked it; actually – not the fire, but the time afterwards, when he would lay down next to her, his head on her lap, and twitch until the last of the anger had left him.


She’d had to restrain him this time, or chosen to; she found she liked it, and so sometimes took the opportunity to do so when it wasn’t entirely necessary.

She ran her fingers through his copper curls while he twitched. They were so soft, so fun to pet, although he rarely tolerated the attention. She couldn’t remember ever enjoying touching someone like this before.

As the twitching slowed, he opened his eyes. “You never get angry, no matter how much I yell.”

It was a common complaint. She had no better answer than the one she had given him every other time. “I’m very hard to piss off.”

“They say you’re cold, you know.”

“I know that’s what they say. The whole snake thing.”

“I don’t think it’s that.” His teal eyes met her colorless ones. “I don’t think you’re cold.”

For some reason, she found that made her smile. “No?” Against his fire, she was certainly a little chilly.

“No.” His shoulder jerked as he pulled against the bindings wrapped around him. “Damnit. I’ll behave.” His cheeks colored a little. “Please?”

That was unusual, and Abrelle was reluctant to indulge him. He had said please, however, so she unwound the restraints.

His hand shot out, and for a second, she thought he would hit her. Instead, he stroked the edge of her hair, and then, cautiously, the root. “Ever since I met you, your hair’s been white. I thought it was part of your Change.”

“It is.” A strange feeling settled in her stomach. “Why?”

“Your roots. They’re turning blue.”

“Blue?” That was new. They’d never turned blue before. She peered over him at the mirror. The deep royal blue had, indeed, stained her roots. “It’s a mood ring.” She didn’t quite tell him, so much as she told the mirror.

“But your hair is always white.”

“Usually, now.” She caught his wrist, and watched the blue in her hair deepen.

“So what’s blue?”

“I…” The pink tinging the tips of her hair she knew. That was mild embarrassment. “I think it might be love.”

She grabbed his other wrist before he could freak out too badly, and they both watched as the blue seeped down her hair.

Next: Shifting

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