December 23, 2012 by Lyn
Sunday, December 14, 2003, latest
They had separated their two captives, and restrained them firmly. This had led to both of them kicking up a fuss louder than any Luke had ever heard short of a full army coming straight at him.
They’d moved the little one into the room with the big one. Anita, Luke reminded himself, and Tokka. They weren’t the enemy, not really. They were children; in a slightly different world, they would have been his students. Possibly, in the big guy’s case, his Student. Luke had Mentored a giant before, after all.
Being in the same room had soothed them, although the little one, Anita, wanted to be in Tokka’s lap. Luke had nixed that, and Agmund, roused from a nap and acting like a cranky old man, had agreed.
Anita hadn’t given them anything useful. She’d soothed and calmed when Caitrin had gotten some warmed, drugged milk into her, but she was still mostly incoherent.
Tokka, on the other hand, was completely coherent, and mostly belligerent. “We were promised girls. Dates, girlfriends. A girlfriend came. You took her away.”
“Jovanna already had a girlfriend, Tokka. She wasn’t yours to take.”
“She landed on me from the sky place. People that come down from the sky place are ours, then. That’s the way it is. That is the way of the basement.”
“The ways are changing. Those in the basement never came up into the upper floors before, either.”
“Never attacked the students of the upper school.” Agmund sounded angry. Luke didn’t blame him, but he didn’t know that it would help, either. “This isn’t the way things were.”
“Somebody else’s were and where,” Anita babbled, “someone else’s here and there and share.”
“Not our rules. Not our attacks, either.” Tokka glared around at them. He yanked on his chains again, but they were firm. “Teacher holds the rules. And Teacher has been busy.”
That… boded ill. Luke found himself frowning as deeply as Agmund. “Who is running things down there, then?
The big kid scowled at him. “I don’t have to tell you.”
“You don’t have to tell me anything.” He tried to sound soothing, although it didn’t come the easiest to him. “But I can’t help you without information.”
“Can help us fine. Give us girl back. She’s ours. Mine. My girlfriend.”
The yeti, Luke thought dryly, didn’t sound all that different from his students.
“She was someone else’s girlfriend before you claimed her.” He was pretty sure he’d had that conversation before, too. “And so I can’t give her to you.”
“It is not that you have no girls, down there?” Agmund glared at poor Tokka.
“Not girlfriends. Nobody who could be a girlfriend!”
“None at all?”
Everyone’s eyes swiveled to Anita. She stuck out her long, pink tongue at them. “Not girlfriend.” Her voice was slurred and sleepy, and she’d stopped fighting the restraints. With luck, she’d stay sedated until they could return them.
“Hurm.” Agmund looked at Luke. “This is not a problem we anticipated.”
Luke glared back at the Bear. “None of this involves problems we anticipated. None of it, from the get-go. This isn’t a planned catastrophe, and we didn’t put them down there.”
“We didn’t?” Agmund raised an eyebrow. “Some students, true, they went down out of rebellion. But these students…”
“I remember the outside.” Tokka’s voice had gone sad, and soft. “I remember the sun. Four years, they said. How long ago was that?”
Luke remembered. Not the date, but close enough. “Six years.”
“And I can leave, soon? I can see the sun again?”
What to tell the poor sap? Luke looked at the boy – a boy, really, under the fur, under the claws, under all of it – and sighed.
“You’ll see the sun again, soon.” He didn’t know about leave. Some few people never learned how to Mask. Luke had met some, in his time. One much like this one, among others. But the world had been bigger then, and there had been more room in which to hide.
“I’d like that.” Tokka sagged against the chair. “I can’t tell you things. Not many things. They made me promise.”
“Tokka, no.” Anita’s voice was bleary and barely-aware. “They said don’t tell.”
“Not telling. Not telling the secrets, not telling about the stairs. Inigo, he told everyone about the stairs anyway. Stupid Inigo.” Tokka glared at Luke. “He wanted to hurt people. People will listen if people are hurt. I told him. Told him nobody listens to anything when they’re all beat up.”
“Sometimes they do.” The Bear’s rumble sounded amused this time. “Sometimes, they listen quite a bit if you hurt them.”
“They didn’t, though. They didn’t even say anything back!” The yeti looked, Luke thought, a bit upset. “All that blood. And then they hit back!” This time, he tried to stand up, nearly taking his chair with him. “They hit me. They hurt Anita.”
“Easy, Tokka. Here, sit down. Relax a little, all right.” Luke could take this poor kid in a fight, but he didn’t want it to come to that. “Who hit back? Adelheid and Llew?”
“Good fighters.” Agmund smirked at Luke over Tokka’s head. “Both of them.”
Luke didn’t dignify that with a response. It was an old argument, and now wasn’t the time for it.
“Red girl, dark boy with shiny hair.”
“Made Body magic.” Anita waved her hands in their restraints. “Wooo, mean Workings. I should try those.”
No, no, Luke did not want the people Downstairs learning the Penny Special. “Damnit…”
Agmund laid a hand on Luke’s shoulder. “Solomon will help. And, if needed, the doctor.”
Yes, Reid and Maria Mendosa would help. Luke sighed. “All right, Tokka. What can you tell us?”
“There is trouble. Nobody listens when we tell them.”
“Children, you were telling. Young children, who could not help.”
“We are telling you!”
“After you attacked our children.”
“Inigo says, only fair. People up here made promises, did not keep them. We were told there would be girlfriends.”
Boy really wanted his girlfriend. Luke coughed. “Who made those promises, Tokka?”
“We were told! They told us that we would have girlfriends!”
“n’boyfriends.” Anita sounded, if Luke kept his back to her, too much like Zita for his comfort. He turned to look at her, to remind himself that this was not the vibrant little goblin Kept of his Student.
“But you heard no promise.” Agmund was taking over; thank you, Bear.
“We were told.”
“Told by who?”
“Told. By… I can’t say.”
Luke sighed. Perhaps the boy would talk better around people his own age, or perhaps one of them would fly into a rage and reveal something. Either way, he had the perfect people sitting in the waiting room.
Adelheid was… something else. Llew was something else again. Luke didn’t like working with either of them, but they were the tools fate had seen fit to give him, and in this crisis, he would use everything he had at his disposal.
Even two who so clearly hated him. Luke stretched his wings, sighed, and headed to the waiting room.
“White knights make mistakes you’re not making, for the most part.”
Luke would have given money to know what had happened to Adelheid. Something, something nobody had been able to tell him – or admit to, at least. It wasn’t her brother, he was pretty sure of that (At least, not the brother she’d been raised with). It wasn’t likely to be any of her brothers, considering the way Aelfgar’s get went. But someone had hurt her, before he’d gotten to her. He wished he could tell her… Well.
“Not all white knights.” He changed the subject before she could argue with him. “Llew, who taught you those moves?”
His students weren’t always the best people, but he could, maybe, fix some of the damage they’d done.
The departed gods alone knew, he was going to be spending a lot of time fixing mistakes this year anyway.
Saturday, December 20, 2003
Tigg wouldn’t talk to him.
Neither would Timora, of course. Or, for that matter, Evie or her crew, Arundel’s crew – in total, maybe half of the school. Calvin had, in three years in Addergoole, made his share of enemies. And it didn’t really bother him. Everyone made enemies, and he was stronger than most of them.
Tigg not talking to him bothered him. At first, it was just irritating – so many things at Addergoole worked better if you had a partner, and Tigg had been turning into a very good partner. But that had been a month ago, and things were showing no signs of changing. If anything, it was getting worse. At first, he’d still come by to hang out once in a while. But now, now he wouldn’t even look at Calvin.
He paused by Nessie’s door. It was her fault. Maybe he could talk her into something. Maybe he could cut a deal with her.
If he had something she wanted, maybe she’d let him have some time with Tigg. It wouldn’t be the same but it would be something.
He was just about to knock on the door when it opened.
“Calvin.” Nessie was smiling. That couldn’t be good. “We were just about to find you.”
“What for?” He reached for a Working, but had none for someone-smiling-at-him.
She urged Tigg forward. “Go, hang out for a while. Have fun, or something.”
“What…” What do you want for this?
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