January 31, 2014 by Lyn
Luna’s father came to get her in August. She’d sent him that in a letter: The baby’s too young to travel. Come get me in August. She’d been pretty sure she could handle a month with him, but that had been June, and that had been before Olifur left for Princeton.
“This is Sunil.”
She hadn’t meant to lead that way, but she found herself weilding her son in his carrier in front of her like a weapon.
“Hello, Sunil.” Her father looked at the baby, not touching him yet but peering at the chubby cheeks and blue eyes.
“You’re not surprised.” The words were tumbling out of Luna’s mouth, from that place where she’d hidden everything while Evie was keeping her. “You’re not surprised that your teenaged daughter walked out of the school with a baby.”
“Now, come on, Luna, I just got here.”
“I’m not coming on anywhere anymore, Dad. Been there, done that.” She set Sunil’s carrier down behind her and glared at her father, startled to find his normal expression, the one he used for placating and calming, had been replaced with something angry.
The urge was strong to flinch back, and, before she’d thought it through, she did – stepping back, ducking her shoulders, and lowering her head.
“God damn it and fuck the departed gods…” He was growling. She’d never heard her father growl. She took another step backwards, bumping her heels into Sunil’s carrier.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.” Please don’t be mad. She wasn’t sure she could handle that, not today.
“Eluned, Eluned my woodland idol darling.” She could hear the effort her father took to calm himself. “Please say that again.”
“Say… say what? I didn’t mean it?”
“No. Been there, done…” He glowered at her. “Luna, I’m angry. Someone has been hurting you, been hurting my little girl – haven’t they?”
She couldn’t step back any further, so she braced her shoulders and looked at him. “Yes.”
“Someone Kept my little girl.”
She straightened her back. “You know about Keeping.”
“You’re not my first daughter to go through Addergoole. But someone hurt you.” He snarled. “Stay… no, you’re right. I don’t get to give you orders. Please stay here. Regine!” His voice rose up into a shout as he turned away. “By the thirteen departed gods, Regine Avonmorea, get the fuck out here and explain yourself.”
“Mr. Thrane.” Luke was there so quickly, Eluned wondered if he’d been waiting for this. Surely her father couldn’t be the first one to stand yelling in the Village. She picked up Sunil, though whether to comfort herself or him she couldn’t quite tell, and muttered an eavesdropping Working so her father would feel as if she was far enough distant.
And, indeed, he was walking as he talked, leading Luke away from her. “Luca Hunting-Hawk.” He’d stopped shouting, at least. “What the fuck is Regine doing to our children? What the fuck are you allowing the Lady of the Lake to do to our kids?”
Eluned might have been imagining it, but she thought she heard regret in Luke’s voice. “You knew they’d be required to have two children when you signed the contract, Mordechai Thrane.”
“And you didn’t hear me bitching about Alisha’s three, did you?”
Wait, her father had another daughter?
“Alisha was collared too, Mordecai.”
Wait, her father’s name was Mordecai? He’d always gone by Moe.
“Alisha had – has – that boy wrapped around her little finger. Tell me who the bastard is. Tell me who hurt my little girl.”
Luke’s voice got solemn. “We watch all of the students who end up in a collar, Mordecai. We step in if there’s abuse, and Evie was not abusing your daughter.”
Eluned cringed. That was not how she wanted to come out to her dad: Your daughter’s girlfriend wasn’t abusing her.
“You stand there and watch the way she cringes, and you tell me someone wasn’t fucking with her head.”
Luke’s wings flapped out angrily, and then folded against his back as his shoulders slumped. “That… is harder to guard against, yes. Eluned…” He raised his voice to call to her. “Come here.”
“Sir?” She tilted her head at him and walked over.
“Was Evie bad to you?”
“Evie?” It appeared her father was finally getting the idea. “You didn’t get a baby from a girl… did you?”
“No, Dad. Well, I did, but I only surrogated that one. Sunil…” She took a breath and chose her words carefully. “Olifur and I chose to have Sunil together, and Evie allowed it because she got something out of it.” She turned to look directly at Luke. “Evie was a mess. She still is a mess. She didn’t mean to be bad to me, but she was a wreck and being Kept by a wreck is hard. You never know what’s going to happen next and…” She took a moment to collect herself. “And you never know if you did something wrong or if they’re just mad because of something someone else did. And there’s all the bad habits…” She shook her head. “No. No, Evie wasn’t abusive. She was just abused.”
“I’m not sure that’s much better.” Her father did not look mollified.
Eluned decided it was time to change the subject. “You have another daughter and you never told me?”
“I sent you here, Eluned. I sent you here, Luna Moth, and then that woman… That woman hurt you.”
“You have another daughter.”
“I have two other daughters and a son.” She could see his Adam’s apple bouncing. “In this generation. The others… are more than old enough to be your parents.”
“You have… how many kids? You have all these other kids, and you’ve never told me?” Her voice was rising louder. “You have all these kids. You’re fae, you’re fae and you never told me, you’re how old and you never told me and you sent me here?>“ her voice had gone beyond loud to shouting. “All of this you’ve been lying to me all this time?”
He didn’t shout. When she’d been living at home, when she’d shouted at him, he’d shouted back. Instead, he dropped his voice to almost a whisper.
“I never lied to you, Eluned, although I did withhold truths, and for that, I owe you. But they…” He didn’t get any louder. It might have been less frightening if he had. “They lied too. They told us you would be safe.”
Luke’s wings were all the way out. He was braced for a fight. “Mordechai, sa’Leopard’s Bite.”
“Luca, sa’Hunting Hawk. We will take care of this later. Not when my kin are here, not when my kin are going to your school.”
“Children were promised until the ninth generation.” Luke, Eluned thought, didn’t really look happy at all with this. With any of this.
“I know.” Her father was smiling. There was nothing she had seen as terrifying as the way her father was smiling right now. “You can tell Regine, as soon as that ninth generation graduates, I’m coming for her.” He turned his back on Luke and the school and offered Eluned his hand. “Come on, Moth.” It was as if he had not just been threatening someone at all. “You and Sunil have family to meet.”
This was written to Kuro_Neko’s donation and request for more students-and-parents after school; it’s part one of at least three different stories.
For every $5US donated, I will write 300 words on the character or situation of your choice. Want more?