March 7, 2013 by Lyn
Written together with Rix Scaedu, and then promptly lost. This occurs after the Guest Story: Lemon.
By the time Lemon brought her new Nedetakaei stalker home, everybody and their brother had had a chance to tell Wylie, twice, to be polite to the creep. He’d helped Lemon move furniture into their room, helped Yolanda pick up the common room, and endured a rare and uncomfortable lecture from Niassa. He already hated the guy, even without the whole creepy stalking monster thing.
At least Lemon hadn’t entirely lost her senses. She opened the door, and used the more formal invitation Wylie had heard yet: “If you mean no harm to me or any other who dwells within this Sanctity, then you may enter.”
He answered, just as solemnly, “I mean you and those you dwell with no harm,” and walked into the room, looking around, which gave Wylie a chance to look at him, too. He was tall but not massive, just a bit taller than Wylie, with black hair to his shoulders. He was dressed like a cowboy, and was in that older-than-them-but-not-old range. He was, Wylie was glad to see, not all that good looking.
He gave up on his attempt to watch TV, or at least pretend to. “I made dinner.” He tried to sound casual about it, even though making dinner was Lemon’s thing.
“Thank you. Wylie, this is Hylakaros oro’Doug. Hylakaros, this is Wylie sh’Page cy’Mendosa oro’Niassa, one of my suite mates.”
Oro’Doug. So they had tied him down. Good.
“Hello.” The creep didn’t sound like a creep. Wylie stood up and paced, trying to stay out of the creep’s reach. “Hi.” He nodded nervously. He didn’t want to let the guy out of his sight.. ”Uh. Welcome to Addergoole, I guess.”
“It seems a strange place.” Hylakaros paused for a moment, then added, “So your Mistress is one of Lemon’s allies?”
Lemon interrupts, “Niassa and Wylie are my friends.”
“I’m Lemon’s friend.” Wylie shrugged uncomfortably, and then tacked on his own explanation. “Niassa and her crew took Lemon in, yeah. It’s how Lemon and I met.” The collar around his neck was bothering him. He tugged at it, as if he could get it to loosen.
“I don’t have friends.” Hylakaros sounded vaguely disapproving. “Allies is a relationship I understand. So,” he looked between the two of them, “what advantages does Lemon bring to your Mistress’ crew?”
Mistress, again. Advantages and allies. This guy was stone cold. Wylie took a second to figure that one out. He’d never thought about Lemon in that way!
Advantages, advantages. Suddenly, he grinned. “She can cook! I mean, I can make food happen, but Lemon _cooks_!”
“And she gives me someone to talk to.” That sounded sort of pitiful, but he kept grinning, hoping the creep wouldn’t notice the pitiful part.
The creep was grinning right back at him! “Cooking is good. I’ve eaten stuff made by people who can’t even make food happen but think they can.” He dropped a kiss on the top of Lemon’s head. Kissed her. “I seem to have hooked up with a girl who’s talented as well as clever.” Lemon blushed, and Wylie tried to find something, anything else to look at.
“So… well, I guess that fits Addergoole. Stalk a girl until you get to hook up with her?”
“I was going to rescue her from here and teach her. I didn’t know she already had a Mentor, wolf cub.”
“Hunh. That’s the first thing you’ve said I can really agree with. And I’m a coyote.” Even though wolves were bigger and scarier, the distinction was important.
“I stand corrected.” Hylakaros’ grin was sharp. Wylie thought the creep might be laughing at him. “Coyote pup doesn’t have the same ring to it though, does it? You’ll make her a fine ally when you’re grown and freed.”
Wylie thought about bristling, but shrugged. He wasn’t really full-grown yet, and he didn’t really have control of his own life, either. “Yeah. I wouldn’t mind staying her friend. What about you?” That’s what was really important here!
“It seems our powers have decided we’re a pair so I’m here for the next three and a half years. After that,” he shrugged, “it will depend on what Luke, Doug and the others think of me.”
Hylakaros caught Lemon’s worried look – and she really did look worried, about this jerk, that fast. Powers, hunh? Wylie had either lost out or lucked out. The creep was smiling at Lemon, and squeezing her hand. “So, Wylie, speaking of stalkers – is there anyone else after Lemon I should keep an eye out for?”
Me. Even though that was really not the case. “Uh.” Wylie squirmed. ”Are you going to kill them if I tell you? Because that’s a little more than anyone after her deserves.”
“I’ve been ordered not to kill anyone,” Hylakaros assured him, “and if I know who they are I can stop them from deserving more.”
“But there’s no-one else after me,” Lemon objected, then looking at Wylie’s face she adds less certainly, “is there?”
She really doesn’t know.
Wylie laughed, and then smiled to make it less harsh. “Lemon, I’m not sure you would notice if someone was following you around giving you flowers.” He shrugged. ”People are careful. Because you’re cy’Doug and, um, the baby thing. But there’s at least four people who are interested that I can think of off the top of my head.”
Lemon really was surprised. “There are?” Then a touch wistfully, “I think I would have noticed flowers.”
“Trust me, you wouldn’t.” Wylie had learned how to control his expression a little bit; sadly, his ears were a different story.
“Wylie?” Lemon put a hand over her mouth. “Have I been dense? But you’re with Niassa.”
“And you’re with, ah, him.” Wylie shrugged. ”You’re a cool friend and I didn’t want to mess that up.” I never had a chance, anyway.
“Thank you and so are you. I’m sorry if I’ve made things difficult.”
“A good ally and good taste,” Hylakaros butted in. “So, who else?”
“Sylvanus. Agra, I think. Abednego, for sure.”
“But none of them, none of you ever said anything!” Lemon still sounded surprised, maybe even a little hurt. “I mean I understand why you and Agra wouldn’t but the other two? Are you sure?” She ended on that almost wistful note again. Hylakaros was looking down at her with interest but without, as far as Wylie could tell, any offense. Maybe their powers thing wasn’t like the Bond.
“Shy?” Wylie shrugged. ”I don’t pretend to understand.” He knew why he hadn’t made a move on her, but he was the only one he could speak for.
“As you may have noticed,” Hylakaros offered, “I’m a grab the girl and run for it sort of guy, but I have to ask; how threatening have Doug and this Dr-Daeva of yours been? And what about the other boy who lives here? Olifur you said his name was?”
Dr-? What did the creep call Daeva? Wylie would have to ask his Mentor.
“Professor Vanderlinden isn’t mine,” Lemon corrected him, “and Doug’s not threatening.” She turned to Wylie, “Is he?” She blinked hard, “As in threatening boys behind my back sort of threatening.”
Wylie wanted to laugh, he really did. It wouldn’t be nice, and Lemon would make unhappy faces, but had she not noticed…?
No, he realized, she really hadn’t.
“Doug doesn’t need to threaten boys behind your back. Though I did see him glower at Abednego once or twice.”
“So they like me but they’re not prepared to ask me out.” Lemon was, he noted, holding tighter to the creep’s hand.
And then the creep asked, almost over the top of her, “And this Olifur?”
Oh, no, he was not throwing Niassa’s crew-mate to the wolves. Creeps, whatever.
“Olifur?” He shrugged, trying to make it look nonchalant. “I dunno, I think he’s got Lemon slotted in the little-sister category.”
“Not chasing off her potential suitors then?” Hylakaros smiled. It did not make him look one bit less creepy.
“Yeah.” Wylie smirked. Dirk hadn’t been overbearing, but he’d certainly been clear on his intent. ”He didn’t want to hold your hand.”
Catching Hylakaros’ questioning look, Lemon clarified. “Dirk enjoys other people’s pain, or so we’re told. Olifur had a word with him, cy’ree mate to cy’ree mate, after I moved in here.”
It hadn’t had to be more than a word. Dirk, Wylie thought, was one of the smart ones.
“We take care of our own.” He wanted to, at least.
“So, Wylie, do you need me to do anything to help with dinner?” Lemon changed the subject before things could get awkward.
“Maybe your delicious dumplings?” He made his best puppy-dog eyes at her, and tried to ignore the fact that her stalker was watching him.
“Dessert ones or did you make something you want savoury ones to go with?” She added on, before he could answer, “Do I have time to show Hylakaros where he can put his stuff before I cook?”
“What? Yeah, sure.” He gestured vaguely to cover up his sudden embarrassment. ”Dessert ones, yeah. I made a casserole thing.” Did she have time? It wasn’t like he could tell her what to do.
“Then dumplings on before I show Hylakaros my room ,” Lemon decided. “Hylakaros, would you mind waiting out here while I cook?”
“Not at all. I’ll just sit over here will I?” He let go Lemon’s hand and pulled out a chair from the table, putting himself where he could see both Lemon in the kitchen and the door of the suite. Wylie found himself pacing, trying to keep the creep in sight while watching Lemon at the same time. He didn’t trust this guy, collar or not. The collar was only as good as the orders.
Lemon put on an apron, washed her hands at the sink and got on with making the dumplings and the sauce to cook them in. But her new friend….
Hylakaros was watching Lemon but he was clearly aware of Wylie. When Lemon was into her preparation and not paying attention to them, Hylakaros turned his head and asks quietly, “What else is bothering you?”
Wylie appreciated the quiet, even as he really hated appreciating it. It was enough to make him answer honestly. “You.” He kept his voice just as quiet.
“Me a guy, or me a Shenera Osera?” Hylakaros’ hands were resting, relaxed, on the table in front of him. Like his body language was saying see, not a creep.
“Yes,” he snapped. And then, a little more politely. “You, a stranger. Somehow magically bound to Lemon. “ It’s not fair, he didn’t say, but he could feel his ears saying it for him. “A… Shenera Osera, in our house.” Why?
“I first met her when she was on her way here and we fell asleep on top of each other on the plane. I haven’t slept that well for a few years and I didn’t again until last night, and that was in a chair by her bed. Doug has bound me with orders and Luke has made it clear that if I try to convert anyone, I’m dead meat. If I’m still what I am when Lemon graduates then Luke, Doug and the one with glasses will kill me. If that happens she will need her allies because it might break her.” He switched his eyes back to Lemon, and it was like a pressure came off of Wylie. Kill him. Woah.
Wylie nodded. ”Okay.” His lips were tight together, and he wasn’t sure what to do with that.
Well. “I’m her friend. I’m going to keep being her friend.” Kill him. Really? ”That’s gotta be pretty bad.”
“The promise of death?” He shrugged. “I’m a Hunter, I deal death for a living. I can’t expect to avoid it myself forever, besides I know what my choices are and sometimes the best you can do is grab a few more tomorrows then make them good ones.” Hylakaros looked back at Wylie. “It might do you no harm in the long run to remember that Coyote is a god.”
Hunh? Oh, yeah. The Change. “A god?” He rolled that over in his mind. “I like that better than the cartoon thing.”
“Especially one that spends all its time trying to catch and eat a bird it’s allergic to?” Hylakaros gave him a genuinely friendly grin. It was enough for Wylie to finally relax a bit, and smile back.
“Yeah.” A god. He liked that.