February 7, 2013 by Lyn
Sunday, February 1, 2004
Ciara was very much not pacing. Not at all.
She had written five pages of what-if notes in her notebooks, practiced all her kata until she was exhausted, and cleaned her room. Twice. She’d organized her closet, gone shopping, bought clothes, gone shopping again, bought food, and baked more cookies than there were people in the school.
Amadeus had taken her up on her offer of time to himself. She hadn’t really expected him not to. But it was the most leash – the most time off the leash, really – she’d given him since she’d Kept him, and it made her more than a wee bit nervous.
She wanted to go looking for him. At the same time, she wanted to signal that she trusted him. If she gave him a little room to make his own decisions, maybe he could learn how to make good ones.
“He still gone?” Ellen looked something between worried and sympathetic. “You know, if he gets into any trouble…”
“It’s my responsibility. Yes.” Amadeus had explained that to her, when telling her why he’d restricted his Kept as much as he had. He had explained quite a bit more to her than, she thought, he had actually intended to. “And he knows that, too.”
“Does he care?”
“That.” She scooped cookies onto a plate. “Is a very good question.”
“Are you planning on feeding the entire school?”
“That was my plan. I need some more tins, though. I could just send…” She stopped herself. “Later.”
Ellen shook her head. “Seriously. All right, I’ll head to the store and grab more tins. But you’re on your own for the creepy crews.”
“At least one of those, I can just send Amadeus, when he’s back, without any trouble. He might even thank me.”
“I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that. He’s not the picture of gratitude, that guy.”
“Well, for the most part, I haven’t given him that much to be grateful for.”
“You’ve treated him like a human being. That’s more than he’s done for his Kept. That’s more than most people do for their Kept.”
“And just last week you were telling me I was treating him too much like a possession.”
“Both can be true.” Amadeus’ low voice startled both of them. Ciara was relieved that Ellen jumped, too – more relieved than she really wanted to admit. “Key treats me better than many people here treat their Kept. Better than I treated mine.” He sat, both hands flat against the eat-in counter. “And she treats me like a Kept. Which I am.”
Ciara passes him a cookie. “Did you have a good time?” It was not how she’d meant it to come out, sounding like his mother after he’d been visiting his little friends. She gave him a second cookie.
“I just got here.” He took both cookies but ate neither of them. “I went to Valerian’s. And the Library.”
“She didn’t ask you for a list of your stops.”
“I know.” He was keeping his body language far more still and non-threatening than he normally did. What was different? “That’s why I’m telling her.”
Ciara pulled the last tray of cookies out of the oven. Fussing with it gave her a few minutes to ponder this change. Unfortunately, it also gave Ellen time to get in a few more jabs.
“That doesn’t seem like you. Being helpful. What are you up to?”
Amadeus didn’t say anything. Ciara peeked at him over the cookies; his expression was entirely neutral.
“Well.” Amadeus’ sigh sounded long-suffering. That wasn’t like him, either. “I wouldn’t say you know me very well.”
“I saw plenty of you last year! And I live with you now.”
“You saw me being a Keeper last year.” The words were slow. He’d been thinking, maybe? Was that a good thing? “Mostly, this year, you yell at me.”
“You deserve it!”
“That’s not the point. The point is, how would you know what’s like me?”
This was getting weird and out of hand. Ciara passed both of them cookies. “We have been living together for a while.” She pointed it out mildly. “If we don’t know each other yet, perhaps we should all start.”
“Are you saying you don’t know me, either?” Ellen’s voice was spiraling upwards. She was going to have to do something or this would be really unpleasant.
“No, no. But maybe we could do something as a crew this weekend?”
“A crew and him?”
“Well, he does count as part of me, right?” She smiled. It was an absurd thought, but it was the way people around here seemed to think.
“Hrrumph. All right. I’ll talk to Shandar about doing something.”
“Thank you, Ellen.” She turned to Amadeus. “In the meantime, I think that I don’t know what you’re like, either.”
“And I don’t know that much about you.”
“Well. Maybe it’s time to correct that?”
“As you wish, Mistress.” He had, she was surprised to notice, a very nice smile.
This story was written in response to Gudy’s donation and request for more Ciara and Amadeus
For every $5US donated, I will write 300 words on the character or situation of your choice. In addition, every donation will bring you to a small snippet of story – a new snippet every Wednesday! Want more?