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Bonus Story: After the Fight


March 4, 2013 by Lyn


Ceinwen found herself sitting in an exam room in Dr. Caitrin’s clinic, holding Thorburn’s hand while they waited for a healer to have time for him.  “That was really stupid.”

“I’m still your Keeper, you know.”  His throat was a mangled mess, so he was talking in a rough croak.

“I know.  But it was still really stupid.  They’re two years ahead of you guys.  And, I mean… they’re Boom.  You told me about them.”

“It was all in fun.”

“It was crazy.  You guys nearly brought the ceiling down!”

“That was mostly Boom.”

“Still.  I mean, really.”  She glared at him.  “Look at you.  You could have gotten, I don’t know, really hurt.”

Thorburn smiled at her.  He didn’t do that very often, but he was smiling, grinning at her, through a mouth of broken teeth.  “You were worried about me.”

“You big jerk.”  She squeezed his hand.  “I Belong to you.  There’s this magical connection that makes me care.”

“Hrmph.”  He was still smiling.  “You were worried.”

“It makes you happy that I was worried?  Isn’t that kind of sick?”

“Are you going to give me this much lip every time I get injured?”

“Will it stop you from getting into stupid fights?”

“It might make me think twice about it.”

“I’m still your Kept, remember?”  She wondered if he’d hit his head in the fight.

“I know.”  He pulled her fingers to his lips and kissed them.  “But this is kind of fun, too.”

“Having me pissed at you?”  Having him kiss her fingers was kind of fun.

“Having you pissed at me because of something I did to myself.”  His smile was a bit lopsided.  She wondered if Dr. Caitrin had given him some sort of drug.  “That hasn’t happened since I was a kid.  Even Indigo…” He closed his mouth with a snap.

She studied him.  She’d never heard him mention his former Keeper by name, and hardly ever even as a concept.  “Close your eyes?”


“I want to see something.”


“It involves my innate power, and it can’t hurt you.”  She wasn’t actually entirely certain that was true, but she wasn’t planning on hurting him at all.

“You’ve never told me what your innate power actually is.”  He frowned at her, and Ceinwen resisted the urge to cringe back.  “I mean… I’ve had some strange dreams.  A lot of strange dreams, come to think of it.”

“Bad dreams?”  Please, please don’t let them be bad.

“No.  No, nice dreams, most of the time.  I mean…”  She saw him fighting against something in his mind, reaching for something.

She took pity on him, and nodded.  “I know.  Dreams that started out bad, but ended up getting a little better every time?”

“…yeah.”  His dark skin got a little darker around the cheeks, and he looked away from her.  “I don’t know if I like you being in my dreams.”

“I didn’t like it at first, either.”  She looked away from him.  “I didn’t ask for it, my dreams just started… being your dreams.”

“So you saw…”

“Yeah.  And…”  She flapped her hand, not that she thought he was looking.

“You started fixing things, or something.  Hunh.  Why?”


“You hate me.  You’ve been really clear about that.”  It could have  been her imagination, but she thought he sounded a bit bitter about that.

“Well… you took over my whole life.”

“That’s what a Keeper does.”  He was quiet for a minute, and, feeling as if something else was coming, Ceinwen said nothing.  “What did you want to see? With your power?”

“You’ve never said her name before.”

“I didn’t… shit, I did, didn’t I?”


“Well, shit.  Now you know.”  Now she was sure she heard the bitterness.  “Go ahead.  Do what you were going to.”  His hand flailed out until he found hers.

She turned to look at him again, and found him looking at her.  “Close your eyes.  Please.”

“Yes, ma’am.”  He closed his eyes, his face still pointed in her direction. “Your power doesn’t work with people looking at you? Not very combat-useful.”

“I am not, generally, a combat sort of fairy.”  She closed her own eyes, and felt down into his subconscious.  It was a lot harder to do with him awake, his nervous thoughts bumping into her. But if she found just the right spots… “Ah.”

She wrapped her light around the crouched figure, and, slowly, coaxed the last chain out of its hands.  “Time to sit up.”  She said it only in their minds, but that was enough.


“She was hurting you.”

Basalt patted Ahouva’s hand carefully. “It was like sparring.”

“Sparring does not involve buildings falling down.”

“The building didn’t fall down.  And, besides, really good sparring might.”

Ahouva shook her head, and hugged Basalt as best she could.  “You are too rockheaded for words.”

“I know.  I hope you like me anyway.”

“You… you…”  She kissed him, because she couldn’t think of anything else to do.

“That’s better.  I like that better than you glaring at me.”  Basalt picked her up and set her down on top of him.  “Could I have another?”

“Only if you ask really nicely and don’t drop any more ceilings on yourself.”  She still felt like sulking, but she was beginning to feel guilty about it.

“I won’t drop the ceiling on myself.  Kiss?”

“Kiss.”  She pressed her lips against his, and settled her body against his chest.  “Rock-headed.”

“Yep.  But you’re stuck with me.”  His hand rested gently on the small of her back.  “I hope you don’t mind.”

“Mind?”  She lifted her head enough to smile at him.  “Basalt, you’re the best thing to happen to me in this school.”


“Really.”  She kissed him again.  “I’m very glad you challenged Kendon for me.”

He pressed her close to him.  “Me, too, honey.  Me, too.”

“That doesn’t mean I think this fight was a good idea.”

“I know.”  He sounded at least a little abashed this time.  “But it was fun.  And everyone else was having all the fun.”

“Well.”  He was too warm and cozy for her to put too much sarcasm into it.  “That makes it okay, then.”


Curry listened to his friends, being scolded by their Kept, their girlfriends.

They sounded happy.  Basalt sounded happy.  Thorburn sounded… different. He sounded weird.  Curry wasn’t sure what to do with his friends sounding weird.

Basalt.  He focused on Basalt.  Basalt didn’t sound weird.  He just sounded happy. And so did Ahouva.

Curry was doing things all wrong.  He needed a girlfriend, a real girlfriend.  Someone who cared when he got hurt.

Where the hell was he going to find one of those down here?


“What the hell was that all about?” Kheper glared at his keeper.  She had a broken nose, a blossoming bruise across most of her face, and the imprints of rock-brain’s fingers around her throat.  And that was just the damage on her face.

The injuries made it hard for her to talk.  He shouldn’t have expected that that would stop Cynara cy’Drake, though.  She croaked out a Working.  “Tempero Idu Intinn Kheper oro’Cynara.”

“Tempero… Cya, come on.”

::You asked a question and now you don’t want me to answer it?::

“You know I don’t like you in my brain.”

::I’m not rummaging.  I’m just talking.::  She set her hand over his.  ::What it was about.  That was a distraction and a statement.::

“Statement?”  Kheper lowered his voice to a whisper.  “What sort of statement.

::Something like “what the fuck?”::  Her mind flashed quick images at him.  Leo, in a collar.  Zita, a younger Zita, also collared.  Cynara, reaching her hands around a metal slave collar.

“Woah, woah.”  He shook his head at her.  “You staged a fight because, what, you were Kept your first year?”

::Not exactly.  I mean, in part we staged a fight because Zita is crazy.::


“Okay, I can’t argue with that one.  Zita really is crazy.”

::Changed that way.  But… the staff.  Sometimes their priorities are weird.  Kept can defend themselves against one kind of monster, and not another?  This threat is more important than a Keeper who…::  Her mental voice trailed off, but he caught an image of blood, and another image, of someone huddled in a corner, making nearly-soundless pain noises.

He’d heard a few things, being her Kept, being around Boom.  He’d heard his friends say things about their Keepers, or say things around things about their Keepers.  Kheper thought he understood.

“So they’re being hypocrites.  Shouldn’t it be okay that they’re getting better?”

Cynara looked at him, and her mental voice was silent for long enough that he thought she’d broken the Working.  Kheper squirmed.  Boom were the good guys, right? Wasn’t that what they always said, or at least tried to pretend?

::It’s good that they’re trying. ::  Her mental tone was overlain with sadness, which matched her expression, ears flat and head down.  ::It just would have been nice if they’d have gotten to it four or five – or nine – years earlier.::

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  1. Rix says:

    Okay, Curry needs to make a list of unattached girls (Sybil, Amanita?). Ahouva, Ceinwen, Thorburn and Baslat seem to be doing fine. Kheper, you need to hug her, now.

    • Lyn says:

      Ama’s sort of poison to touch.

      • Rix says:

        But unattached…

        Never said the girls on the list wouldn’t have other issues.

      • Gudy says:

        Not just to touch, right? I got the impression she’s actually “gassing out” poisonous stuff as well. Also, innate abilities can be trained, right? So it should be possible for her to get her poisons under enough control that some semblance of a physical relationship should be possible for her.

        “It just would have been nice if they’d have gotten to it four or five – or nine – years earlier.” Yeah, yeah, it would.

        • Kuro_Neko says:

          I got the idea that many if not most of the students are down on the fourth floor because for some reason they can’t control themselves or their powers enough to be ‘useful’.

          ” “It just would have been nice if they’d have gotten to it four or five – or nine – years earlier.” Yeah, yeah, it would. ”

          I’ll second that.

  2. Wysteria says:


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