May 21, 2013 by Lyn
Kyle was singing.
He was down on one knee, actually, singing to Addy.
He wasn’t exactly sure what had happened, but now he was kneeling, singing out a love that, bond or not, he wasn’t absolutely certain he felt.
Somewhere down the hall, Nilam was singing “I won’t say a word I don’t say a word I can’t say a word I shan’t say a word.” His voice was a passable baritone.
Margherita was singing in counterpoint. “Good Kept don’t cry. Good Kept don’t speak. Good Kept don’t yell. Good Kept don’t sneak.”
Kyle tried not to listen. It was all very creepy and, besides, he was still trying to figure out why he was professing his ever-living love to a girl he’d known less than a year.Say, you love me every waking moment Turn my head with talk of summertime Say, you need me with you now and always Promise me that all you say is true, that’s all I ask of you
He had just gotten to the part where the script ought to say he’d start dancing with her. He rose off one knee, took her hand, letting his voice rise up with his body…
“That’s quite enough.” Regine strode through the hall and all of the songs ended. Kyle stumbled and fell down, accidentally pulling Addy on top of him. Down the hall, Nilam and Margherita tumbled as if their strings had been cut. Further down, he heard another song abruptly end.
“When is it my tuuuurrrnn….”
Kyle winced. He knew he had a decent singing voice. Lee, on the other hand, had an unhappy falsetto.
“Professor?” He lifted Addy carefully off of himself. “Professor, what’s going on?”
“Somebody is doing something unpleasant.”
“I don’t know, I liked it.” Addy smiled at the Director as if she was a normal person or something, and not the Ice Queen of Addergoole. “It’s not often you get a boy down on one knee professing his love in song.”
“If that is what you truly wish from him, well, he is your Kept. All you need do is tell him to do it.”
Kyle let that thought sink in: being ordered to express his undying love. Singing out heart-felt things with no feeling behind it.
Well. He couldn’t help rolling his shoulders a little bit, but he could certainly think of worse things he could be ordered to do. He looked up at the Director and wondered if she actually thought about the consequences of what she said.
“I like him better this way.”
“That is your choice. However, the singing was no more his choice than if you’d ordered it from him, although the sentiment may have been more accurate. We have not yet discerned the exact nature of the Working involved.”
She began walking away. Kyle and Addy shared a glance. Addy hummed a few bars of a song. Kyle nodded, and they followed the Director.
She was a wave of ice water, leaving nothing but confusion in her wake. They passed Jabez, singing desperately to Hera:I’ve lost all resistance And crossed some borderline And if it turns out, it’s over too fast I’ll make every last moment last, As long as you’re…
Suddenly, the singing stopped, and he was left gasping like a fish, falling to his knees.
They passed Ceinwen singing bibbidi-bobbidi bibbidi-bobbidi bibbidi-bobbidi-boo while Thorburn watched, perplexed. She swooned as they brushed against her, landing limply in her Keeper’s arms.
“This is surreal.”
Addy looked a little woozy. Kyle felt a little woozy.
“This is a lot of magic in one place.” He glanced at the Director. “And she’s turning it off without a Word.”
“A spoken Word.” The Director’s correction was crisp but not angry-sounding; of course, the Director rarely showed any emotion. “There are Workings that can be done – with quite a bit of practice and experience – without speaking out loud. I do not wish to sing.” Her voice was getting melodic as she continued.
“This is weird.” Addy’s murmurs was musical. Kyle recognized the tune.
“Very weird.” She clutched his hand.
“Fuckin’ weird.” He held her to him.
“That’s enough, children. This will be dealt with.” The Director tapped both of their shoulders. “And everything we can will be set right.”
That made Kyle stop. He pressed Addy a little closer to himself, feeling protective. “You mean everything about this current problem.”
“What else would I mean?”
“There’s a lot in this school, Director, that you’re not putting to rights.”
“I am not here to hold children’s hands. I am here to provide an education.”
“And to make sure there’s another generation, right?” Kyle was surprised at his own bitterness. He was also surprised to find he wasn’t singing.
“Yes.” The Director was imperturbable. Of course. “I believe your emotions are getting the better of you, Kyle.” She continued with a Working so long and complex, so quickly rattled off, that Kyle could only discern his name and the word Hugr. Slowly, he felt himself calming down. “There. It seems the Working that is causing the musical problems is also heightening emotions.”
Kyle took a few deep breaths. “Weird.” His head felt like it had been put on sideways. “This is really all a Working?”
“It appears to be a singularly complex Working, but, yes. It is a Working.”
“You know who’s doing it, don’t you?” Addy had taken Kyle’s hand.
“I have a strong suspicion, yes.”
“And what about the other thing Kyle said?” Addy held up her free hand. “Don’t tell me my emotions are clouded. They’re not. I’m calm. I am very calm. But you know you allow abuses to continue.”
“I allow many things to continue. We – the Administration as a whole – do attempt to stop any abuse. I am aware we are not always entirely successful, but it is not our attempt to allow emotional or physical abuse to perpetuate.”
Addy seemed to get that some thought. “Penny stepped in, when Bowen was giving me trouble.”
“Often another student is a much more effective deterrent to abuse than an authority figure.”
“Does that mean I should step in?”
“Would you, if you were out in the world?” The Director started down the stairs to the Store level.
“If I thought I could make a difference.”
“Then you should here.” She paused at Indigo singing Lavender blue, dilly-dilly, frowned, and left the blue-haired girl still singing. “As you said, Penny did so, for you.”
“And Kailani did so, for Bowen. With Agatha.” Addy seemed to be making a point. Kyle wished he knew what it was, so he could help, or get out of the way.
The Director winced. Kyle wasn’t certain that his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him, but there it was, a full-body flinch.
“sh’Regine, yes?” Addy’s voice was sweet now.
“Yes.” Regine turned to stare at Addy. “Yes, Agatha is my daughter. There are, in this school, a few things for which I am willing to take full responsibility and to admit fault regarding. Agatha is one of those.”
“Wha… oh.” Addy glanced at Kyle, and then back at the Director. “I’m sorry. It’s just, Bowen…”
“Bowen carried a great deal of anger and a great deal of resentment for many years. Although I was glad for the machinations Kailani executed in order to obtain his release, I did not know the extent of his… misfortune… until after that release. It was my hope that having a Kept would help to heal those wounds.”
“I think it did. But if Lemon hadn’t interfered…”
“Then I would have, or Professor Fridmar would have.” Regine shook her head. “We can talk about this at some other point, Adannaya. At the moment, I would prefer that you and Kyle either help me with the current problem, or leave me alone to deal with it.”
Addy shared a look with Kyle. Kyle raised his eyebrows at her. She shrugged back at him, her head tilted. Kyle sighed, and tugged on his collar. Addy responded with a foot-stamp.
“I’d like to see what’s going on. We could help, Professor – if Addy says it’s okay.” He didn’t know why she was pushing him to make a decision, but it was still her call in the end.
“Sure.” Addy stuck her tongue out at him. She was being … weirder than usual. Kyle decided it was probably the music thing.
“Very well. This way, then. We are nearly there. I would ask that, should our target attempt to leave, the two of you endeavor to slow her down.”
“Her?” Addy’s question was enough for Kyle to figure out the answer.
“It’s the basement professor, isn’t it?”
“Very good, Kyle, yes. It is very likely to be Professor Kairos, although why she would do such a thing is beyond me.” Regine shook her head.
“Well, she probably rebelled for a reason in the first place, didn’t she?” Kyle shrugged. “Being attacked by beasts from the sub-basement didn’t change that at all.”
Regine made a small clicking noise, and shook her head one more time. “We shall see.” She sounded like a parent disappointed in her child. “Through here. Remember, please try to stop her from leaving if you can.”
“Still using children?” The woman in the storage room was singing. Kyle found he had to slap both hands over his mouth to not sing along. “Still using all of them?”
“I do what I planned to do.” Regine’s voice was rhythmic but not melodic. “I did what I had to do.”
“As do we all. As do we all.”
“Kairos.” This time, there was no music at all in the Director’s voice. “Kairos. This stops now.”
“And then what, Director? And then what of me?”
“You made your oaths. You made your bed. The same as I did; the same as we all did.”
“We all made our oaths; me to you and you to me.“
“And by those oaths, I tell you now, Kairos the Song. This ends.” Regine raised up both hands and started chanting, a Working that involved Intinn and Hugr and Tlacatl and, most of all, Tempero. “It ends, and you will cease your rebellion. This is the road.”
The woman made a dash for the door. Kyle caught her easily; she wasn’t a large woman, and she wasn’t using Working except her singing. He wondered if her entire attention was focused on holding up the musical Working.
“Don’t you understand?” Her voice compelled him to listen, to care. “She’s using you. She’s using us. She’s using everyone.”
“I’ve known that for a long time, ma’am. But from this end of the script, you’re no different.” He pressed her close to his chest and hoped she wasn’t poisonous. “You’re puppeting all of us to make a point. I got off easy. Some of my friends… not so much.” He thought about Nilam, about Lee. Things they didn’t want other people to hear, private things. “Why don’t you stop it?”
“You don’t understand why-” It sounded like a plea. Regine was still shooting off her Working.
“Oh, I understand. She’s using us. You keep saying that.”
“And you still don’t think it’s okay?” She sagged against his hold, the music going out of her voice.
It was a complicated question, and one Kyle didn’t feel he was qualified to answer. Certainly not in the middle of a battle. “Ma’am, I’m just here to go to school.”
He held the professor until she lost consciousness. Outside the room, he could hear the music ending.
Art by Djinni
Image from http://www.dolldivine.com/mori-girl-dress-up.php
Addergoole updates every Wednesday evening EST.
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?
[flattr url=” http://www.addergoole.com/9/2013/05/bonus-kyle/”]