October 21, 2012 by Lyn
Friday, October 24, 2003
“Why are you wearing a fez?” Pania had only glanced up from her book long enough to see that her Keeper was wearing – yes, a fez, one modified to let his cat ears stick through it.
“Would you believe trying out a Hallowe’en costume?” Efrosin plopped down on the bed next to her. “The Hallowe’en dance is a big deal, and I thought we could do something paired.”
“Fezzes are cool?” he tried. Yeah, he’d wanted to do Aladdin. He kept trying to make her into something girly, despite all evident to the contrary. She kept telling him that he should have grabbed someone who acted like a girl.
He kept telling her, every time, that he’d wanted her, which was nice, and left warm-fuzzy feelings in her chest. But then he did things like this. “I don’t make a very good monkey, Eff.”
“I was thinking the Princess.”
“I make a really, really bad princess. Jafar, maybe?”
“Well, how about Narnia? You don’t need stage makeup, even.”
She looked down at her hooves. “And the fez?”
“Calormene?” he tried.
She let herself smile. “You can tell me to do whatever you want, you know. If you want me to dress up as Jasmine, I don’t have much choice.”
“But if I want you happy and enjoying yourself, I need to convince you. Could you do Narnia and have fun?”
“You are such a nerd.” She shook her head, but he’d already won the argument. “I’ve read the books. I could fake a pretty good faun, I think. Maybe we should ask Carti in on it?”
“She’s pretty touchy about her Change.” Efrosin was smiling. He knew he’d won, too. “We’ll have some fun, Panny, you’ll see. The Hallowe’en party is a riot. It’s the best dance all year.”
“Mmm.” She rolled over onto her back and looked up at him. “The fez looks ridiculous on you. But if you want to do some sort of Narnia thing for Hallowe’en, I can do that. It’s probably the most benign thing you’ll think up.”
“It’s the most benign so far, at least.” His grin was entirely unrepentant. “There was the slave-girl Leia thing, but someone does that almost every year. Or the pirates thing…”
“Furry pirates. Really?”
“Okay, but it wasn’t that bad, and you could have worn pants. Since you hate skirts.”
“It’s not…” She flailed a hand at him. “Stop that. We were doing fine. So, there’s nothing against me playing a faun? I can get a nice long scarf and be Mr. Tumnus… well, Miss Tumnus sort of thing.” She kicked up her legs. “Seems like cheating, but the hooves aren’t good for much else except being the back half of a goat costume, and you don’t have horns.”
“No, if you wanted horns, you should have gotten yourself Kept by Howard or Fafnir or someone.” He smirked at her. “Or Arnbjörg. Surprised you know who Mr. Tumnus is.”
“Yeah, well.” She tossed her pillow at him. “I read a book once or twice. If you wanted a fantasy buff, you should have Kept Timora. She has hooves too.”
Saturday, October 25, 2003
When Timora got back to their room after magic class, Arundel was laying on their bed, nearly buried in open books.
“What…?” Her voice only sounded a bit creaky now. If she kept practicing, eventually she might be able to talk to other people without them running away screaming.
Then again, considering Calvin kept trying maybe she didn’t want or need that.
“Oh, hi, Timora.” His nonchalance about her was kind of weird, but she was beginning to learn that he was nonchalant about just about everything. “I was thinking, well, I saw this picture.” He pushed a book over to her, showing a carving of an eagle-headed man with big wings. “I thought maybe we could do a god and goddess theme for Hallowe’en? I mean…” His feathers ruffled a bit, and she thought he might be blushing. Arundel, non-nonchalant? The world might be ending. “You’re pretty awesome to begin with. I thought a goddess would suit you.”
“Goddess?” She sat down on the edge of the bed. “Arundel… this is a lot of books.” He thought a goddess would suit her? She smiled at him, feeling a little goofy. He was a nice guy, her rescuer, her Keeper, but he wasn’t the best at romantic gestures. Sylvia had told her, in a private moment Timora wished they hadn’t had, not to expect much in the way of “wooing” or “sweet-talking” from him, and that he’d managed very little of that with her, Sylvia.
Timora was too nice to suggest that maybe some of that had been Sylvia, but really. Sweet-talking Sylvia would be like sweet-talking a rock. No, worse than that, because sweet-talking Gar was really quite easy.
“I wanted to find something good. Sylvia doesn’t really do Hallowe’en, you know. Her family is against it for religious reasons or something. But I thought, this year… unless you’re against it for religious reasons, too?”
“Oh, no! I love Hallowe’en! I used to have the most fun coming up with costumes, although nobody else really got them…” She trailed off, remembering some of her classmates, the way they’d look at her, the funny expressions when she explained her costumes. “I never understood why everyone just wanted to be a rabbit or a cat or a mouse…” Or a nurse. “This looks like… urm… Assyrian?”
“Yep!” He beamed at her. “It means I don’t have to Mask the wings.” Arundel, she’d learned, really liked his wings. “But I can’t find a goddess with hooves.”
“They don’t have to have hooves. I’ve learned Masking.” She showed him, doing the little swirl that seemed to set her Mask better than anything else. “See? But if you wanted to stick with the goddess thing, I could go as Epona, maybe?”
“Epona!” He grinned widely at her. “That’s awesome! If the horse thing doesn’t bug you?”
She had a voice that could scrape paint off at a hundred feet. The hooves were the least of her problems. “The horse thing is awesome.” She ran her fingers over one hoof thoughtfully. “Swan would have been nice, though. At least they belong in the water.”
“What, like Ceinwen?”
Saturday, October 25, 2003, evening
Thorburn was trying not to sleep.
As long as he stayed awake, Ceinwen found it hard to fall asleep herself. He gripped her to himself, pressing her against the buttons of his pyjamas, pressing the air out of her.
She’d seen his dreams. She understood why he was trying to avoid them. Those last few chains were the bad ones, and, having untangled him this far, she’d only made his dream-self more aware of his situation. But unless he went to sleep, she couldn’t continue to work on them. And if he didn’t let her sleep, she wasn’t only not going to be able to help him, she was going to be useless for doing her homework.
“Does Addergoole do Hallowe’en?” Maybe if she got him talking, she could get him to relax.
“Hunh?” He twitched, pulling her tighter to him. “Do you mean like jack-o’-lanterns and trick-or-treating?”
“Trick-or-treating here would be kind of fun. We could go knock on the teacher’s doors. Assuming they live around here…?” Fish, fish. Something had to get him going.
Well, he chuckled. Even if he was laughing at her, it might be better than sitting there being afraid of sleep. Someone as big and strong as Thorburn shouldn’t be afraid of his dreams. “They either live down on the Third Floor, or they live in the Village. We could trick-or-treat the Village. Maybe before the Hallowe’en dance.”
“There’s a Hallowe’en dance?” Now they were getting somewhere… maybe. “Are we going?” What were they dressing as?
“We could. I’m not really big on dressing up…”
“Carry a big hammer and wear a helmet?” She offered it carefully. Phrasing things so that they sounded like orders could end with her kneeling on the floor.
It wasn’t easy to sleep, kneeling on the floor.
He laughed again. He had, she noticed, a very nice laugh when he was really enjoying herself. “I could do that. Just dress up as Thor? What would we dress you up as then?”
“A swan-wife?” She could reach the feathers in her hair if she wiggled. “Or if you wanted a theme…” Norse mythology, Norse mythology. She’d looked up his name at the library (and her own) on Professor Pelletier’s suggestion, but not much more about the mythology their names had come from.
“Frigg maybe?” He released her enough to stroke her stomach. “Odin’s wife?”
It creeped her out when he did that, stroking her belly like it was something precious, or holding something precious. But he was unwinding, and she didn’t want to get him going again. “I could look her up,” she volunteered. “I bet I can find stuff in the Store, and you’re really good with un- un- manmade stuff, right?”
She petted the dense curls across his chest. “And maybe we could get Basalt and Ahouva and Curry together, and we could go trick-or-treating the professors. That could be fun.”
“That could be fun,” he agreed, finally sounding sleepy. “Good idea, Ceinwen.”
She basked in the warmth of the praise shamelessly. “Thank you.” Did other Kept, she wondered, have to manage their Keepers quite this much?
Addergoole: Year Nine updates every Wednesday evening EST.
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