December 13, 2012 by Lyn
Date and time unknown – after Chapter 12
She did not know where she was.
The sadistic wisp of air had dragged her into a room, and muttered a few Words over her. She thought they had to be Words, because she’d fallen asleep.
When she’d woken, a tiny person had been leaning over her, muttering Words she did know. Words she did not want a stranger muttering over her. “Idu Tlacatl… girl…”
“Please don’t.” She thought the girl looked like Zita, but something was different about her face, and her hair was blue, not black.
“You’re hurt. I can’t fix you unless I know how you’re hurt.”
“Wrist. Ankle.” She struggled to remember her Greek. “Karpoú. Astrágalos.” She coughed, wondering if she still had mud in her lungs. “My name is Jovanna cy’Caitrin.” Oro’Arnbjörg, but she wasn’t allowed to say that part.
“And what about your lungs?”
She coughed, and muttered an Idu Tlacatl over herself. She was lousy at it, but she could get a rough feeling of where her body was going.
“Lungs seem a bit messed up.” And there was something going on lower, but she didn’t want to talk about that, thanks.
“He who is own doctor has a fool for a patient.”
“That’s lawyers. Look, if you let me go, Dr. Caitrin can heal me up.”
“Lay back and let me fix you.” The tiny girl pushed, shoving Jovanna back onto the floor.
Jovanna sat back up, angry. “Stop that.”
The girl pushed her down, harder. “Lay down. Or I’ll tie you down.”
Jovanna stayed where she was pushed. “Really? Come on, they’re going to come for me eventually.”
The little girl had grinned, then, lots and lots of teeth. “Not quickly. You don’t want to know how long I’ve been down here. Once you’re here, you’re here.”
“Uh.” Would they really leave her down here? Would Arnbjörg really leave her down here?
Friday, November 28, 2003
“Arna, you have to go to class.”
“No, I don’t.” She leaned against the wall and glared at the PE teacher.
“Yes, you do. You’re still a student here.”
“Luke, she’s missing and we’re not doing anything.” She knew she was getting shrill. She knew if Jaya were here, she’d tease her and calm her down. And she knew she’d let Jovan down, and that mattered more than anything.
“Arnbjörg.” She hadn’t known he could sound that gentle. She knew Doug could sound gentle like that, but not his father. “What happened to Jovanna is not your fault.”
“But is it my responsibility.” She set her chin and glared at him. “She is my responsibility.”
“And you are mine. Arna, get to class. We’re doing the best we can. “
“Luke, sir, if you were doing the best you could, she’d be back now.”
“And the building would be a pile of rubble in the ground. Yes, I could tear the foundations up to find her, but what would happen to the rest of the school? To your fellow students?”
“They’re not Jovanna. I don’t care.”
“But it’s my job to care.”
“So fuck my girlfriend, the school is more important?”
“You’re showing an awful lot of concern for someone you won’t acknowledge publicly.”
“Gah! Why is everyone so hung up on that?” She glared at him and stomped her foot. She felt childish and mulish all at once; neither were things that normally described her. “It’s easier for her if she doesn’t get hung on my reputation and my Crew. It lets her have her own friends.”
“It denies her the protection of the strongest woman in the school.”
“I’m not…” But she was. “I should be there to protect her.”
“It wouldn’t have helped, in this situation. Nobody could have foreseen what would happen.”
“But I failed her anyway.”
“And you’re going to class, even if I have to drag you.”
Being dragged would be really obvious.
Three sleeps and four meals after the last story
“See?” The tiny girl offered Jovanna a bowl full of tolerably-tasty soup. They weren’t trusting her with anything more than a spoon, after she’d attacked the invisible Inigo with her dinner knife. “Eat a little bit, and you feel better. Soon, you can come play with us.”
“I really need to be getting back.” It was starting to make her twitchy. “I really have to go to classes, you know.”
“Once you stop fighting, we can bring you to classes with us.” The girl smiled, with all those sharp, sharp teeth. Today, her hair was pink. Jovanna wondered if she dyed it, or Worked it. Working it seemed a lot more reasonable.
“You have classes?”
“Of course we have classes. It’s a school, isn’t it? There’s students, and teachers, and everything.” The girl beamed at her. “Eat.”
Jovanna ate obediently. She needed to keep her strength up. “There’s teachers down here?”
“Of course.” The girl shook her head. “What else do you think we do?”
“I don’t know, sneak through the walls and attack people?”
“That’s mostly Inigo. He’s a little bit nuts.” She said that as if everything else down here made sense. “He’s angry, I guess, at everyone, so he lashes out. And you people all have it so nice up there, and you don’t listen to anyone when we try to talk to you, and most of you won’t even talk back.”
“Listen? Well…” She didn’t want to get engaged in an argument about how nicely they had it up there, thinking about Ahova, about Æowyn, about Akaterina. “What aren’t we listening to?”
“We’ve been sending messages. For years. Months, at least. Forever. We’ve been sending you messages!”
“I never saw any messages…”
The tiny girl stomped both feet. “You didn’t listen!”
Jovanna backed up, both hands in the air in an effort to placate. The soup sloshed. “I haven’t been here long,” she offered.
It seemed to be enough. The girl smiled again. “Eat your soup.”
Sunday, November 30, 2003
Arnbjorg had been pacing back and forth between Luke’s office and the third floor for days now. Once in a while, a member of her cy’ree, her crew, or her family would manage to get her to eat, or would sit with her and watch the wall so she could sleep.
Nobody asked why she was so upset about this girl. Nobody pushed her. Mike had, privately, asked Luke what he thought would happen if anyone did.
Luke hadn’t punched Mike, because he didn’t punch women unless they were swinging at him. But he’d growled until the Daeva had gone somewhere else, which made him feel almost as good, and almost as bad.
He couldn’t get through the damn wards. And they came with a geasa, which was the most frustrating part of all. He could feel it, pressing on him. He could tell by Regine’s glower, Laurel’s angry glare, that they could all feel it.
But Arna could, if she’d just think. She was a smart girl. She was one of the best, when her head was on straight. Fourth year of school, trained not only by Doug but by Jamian and the young Daeva’s crew. If there was anything that could be done, she ought to be able to figure it out.
She just had to think. It was maddening, watching her. Watching her crew and family gather around her, and none of them come up with an option that would work. Listening to them toss around theories, each one more hair-brained than the next.
“Damnit.” He glared at the monitor. “Arna, you’re smarter than this. You know what to do. You have the resources at your hands. Just because you love her is no reason to be stupid about the whole thing.”
He knew she couldn’t hear her. The speakers were off. She wasn’t telepathic. But she glared into the camera for a moment anyway – and then stood up abruptly, nearly shoving Reese away.
“Cya. Go find Cynara. She can Find anything. And I’m going to go get Porter.”
Luke nearly whooped out loud. He did run to find Mike – ran, actually, to hug the Daeva.
They both watched in relief when, twenty minutes later, a bloody and exhausted Arnbjorg carried an unconscious Jovanna out of Porter’s Door.
This outtake was written in response to Rix’s donation and request for More Jovanna. I am catching up on the backlog, and apologize for the delay in posting!
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