June 30, 2016 by Lyn
Come on now, try and understand
The way I feel under your command
“I think it’s time for another party.” Ty flopped bonelessly on the bed and flipped open a notebook. “What do you think?”
“A party?” Jamian closed his own notebook; he wouldn’t get any work done as long as Ty was discussing that sort of thing.
“We haven’t had one in months.” She tucked her hair behind her ear, shifting from male to female with the gesture. “And I kinda want to unwind.”
“We could all use some of that,” Jamian acknowledged. “What kind of a party are we talking about?”
“A party?” She shrugged. “You know: good friends, good food, good booze, good times?”
“That does sound nice.” As long as it wasn’t just a cy’ree affair. That word was just too accurate.
“So I was thinking, who should we invite?” Tya looked up at him, pursing her lips thoughtfully. “The cy’ree, of course…”
Of course. Jamian sighed, trying to cover it with an answer. “Maybe some other people too? Alexander’s crew are decent guys. And Shahin’s crew.”
“Hrrm,” she smirked. “Somehow I’m not surprised you want to invite Alexander’s crew.” She wrote down the names, anyway. “That’ll make Niki happy, inasmuch as anything ever makes him happy. And Shahin’s ‘crew?'” The airquotes were nearly visible. “The Fifth Cohorts she hangs around with? I don’t see any harm in that. Mmm, except.”
“If we invite Shahin, we have to invite Emrys. If we invite Emrys, we ought to invite his crew.” Her pen hovered thoughtfully.
“Tolly’s all right, and I don’t mind Dysmas, really,” Jamian shrugged. In a safe place. When he isn’t giving anyone that look.
“Really?” She chewed on the end of her pen. “Good to know. But I was more worried about Aggie. She does something to a party.”
Good to know? What was that supposed to mean? Had he just bitten off more than he wanted to, and, if he had, how was he going to get out of it? Jamian chewed on his lip, and decided to table it and hope it never came back up. “Weren’t you inviting the whole cy’ree anyway?”
“Oh, well, Agatha,” Ty answered dismissively.
“If she doesn’t count for inviting the cy’ree, can she not count for inviting the crew?” Please?
“Well, then we’re leaving her out twice. She might notice, then.”
“Are we really concerned with her opinion of us?”
“She’s vicious when she’s angry.” Tya wrinkled her nose. “Then her crew would get dragged in, and it would be this big thing, and our crew would step in – Shiva would love that – and there you are facing down Shahin in the middle of a battlefield.”
“Um.” When she put it that way, it seemed a lot bigger than a party snub.
“Agatha’s like that,” Tya explained sympathetically. “So… Melchior’s crew. The rest of cy’Linden. Your other little friend?”
“Other… Kailani, you mean? I don’t think she’s really the party type, but she should be invited at least, yeah. And Conrad.”
“Mmm, we can probably get away without inviting the whole crew, though I bet Mea will bring Taro. Never saw that one coming.” Tya smirked faintly. “You get the strangest couples down here.”
That was interesting. What did Tya have against the rest of that crew, he wondered? “Yeah, odd things do happen.”
“Not us, though,” she smiled, reaching across the bed for him.
“We don’t happen? Or we’re not odd? I don’t think either of those is quite true…”
Tya couldn’t help but chuckle a bit. “I don’t think we’re all that surprising or odd of a couple.”
“Really? So if other couples are bored, they can swap genders for the night?”
“Well, all right, but that’s each of us being flexible. As a couple, I think we fit together pretty well.” She leaned in towards him, her notebook forgotten.
“Maybe, yeah,” Jamian smiled, leaning forward a bit himself. When things were going well, they did fit together pretty nicely.
She kissed him, a brief, teasing peck on the lips. “We’re a good thing, Jame.'”
It was true, he knew. Despite all their flaws, they were good for each other. A slow smile spread across his face. “We are. So, about this party?”
“So.” She sat back, studying her notebook. “Phelen will handle the refreshments. Magnolia’s good with the music, but we should probably invite Ib, too. Ivette will… hunh. Seems the whole succubus committee is Kept.”
“Well, we’re going to invite her anyway, aren’t we?”
“Hunh.” She chewed on her pen, frowning at him. “That’s an odd one.”
“Odd? How do you mean?” Granted, Ivette wasn’t exactly normal… except, perhaps, by cy’Linden standards.
“Well, Kept are usually considered an extension of their Keeper’s invitation.” Comfortable with her or not, there were times Tya said things like that, and Jamian just wanted to cringe; she sounded so entirely at ease with the idea of other people as something like accessories. Possessions.
“Wouldn’t it be polite to send them their own, anyway?” he tried. He didn’t know if he was going to get through, but it was worth a try.
“The Kept?” Tya blinked. “Why?”
“Because…” Really, had she really asked that? “Because they’re people. They deserve to be asked.”
“Hunh.” She looks thoughtful. “Well, you’re people, sure…”
“Just me?” he pressed. “And Ivette? Heck, Conrad? Nydia? Shera?”
Tya winced. “I get your point, I get it. But it’s not how the Law works.”
“Sure, their Keepers could say no, but the Law doesn’t say we can’t be polite to them just because they’re Kept.”
Tya shook her head at him. “I think Ofir was right,” she teased gently.
Jamian froze in place, only his empathic senses keeping him calm. “About what exactly?” She wasn’t angry at him, wasn’t suspicious… just amused, and a little… maybe exasperated?
“You’re trying to change the world, you and Kailani.”
“The world? I’d settle for the hall,” he muttered.
“The hall?” She tilted her head curiously. “How so?”
“The little things. Like the way people wouldn’t even think to invite someone to a party, because they happen to be Kept.”
“Mm. Fair. So.” She was up to something; she was positively radiating “up to something.” “If you could change one thing this year in Addergoole, what would you change?”
“Uh. One… You mean, like, one thing that’s happened?” There were so many choices.
“One… well,” she pondered. “Not like, for instance, the Dragon’s visit. But one thing that would have lasting changes, that wasn’t the Law.”
“I… I’ll have to think about it.” What was she thinking? For that matter, what was she capable of? Even Baram seemed a bit frightened of her, and he’d never understood quite why.
“All right.” She smiled brightly despite her obvious surge of disappointment. “So.. mm.. Then Ardell’s crew, that would be Shera and Aneislis they’re Keeping.”
“Yeah. Aneislis; I don’t know how that happened.”
“I have my guesses,” she admitted. “Ardell is pretty sneaky when he really gets down to it, and it could be the boy – Aneislis – was feeling lonely.”
“I can’t imagine being that lonely,” Jamian scoffed.
“Ardell isn’t really that bad when you get him alone…” she demurred. Jamian just stared at her, trying not to think of her alone with him. “What?” She squirmed uncomfortably, wrinkling her nose at him. “It’s cy’Linden, you know how it is. And I think nine-tenths of the stuff people say about him is just blowing smoke.”
“Nine-tenths, huh? So which parts aren’t?” Did he really want to know? Reading the discomfort in his Keeper’s posture, he wasn’t sure he did… but it might help him understand better.
“Well,” Tya’s squirming was getting worse. “I could never really tell how much Xaviera enjoyed things like the cy’ree parties and how much of it was just being told to smile. I mean, people thought Phelen was bad, but Wren was a different matter, you know? And he never shared her.”
“Shared her,” Jamian echoed hollowly, barely a question, as the bottom dropped out of his stomach.
“Well… you know how the parties get?” she offered weakly.
“Yeah. Yeah, I do. And he brought her, to… share. Like a party favor.”
“At the time, I guess I thought she just liked to party, too. I mean, Shiva did. I think,” she added in a mutter.
Jamian almost choked. “You… Shiva?”
“Not like that!” she flared. “I mean, not like I think Ardell did, no, or the way Rozen did with Mea. But she came to the parties, too, still does, right?” She was getting really worked up, really upset about this. “She wouldn’t still be my friend, would she, if…?”
“I… I don’t know.” Would she? Here, in this crazy, fucked-up place? He was still in shock, unable to think it through clearly.
Tya made a small, choked noise. He was making his Keeper unhappy; that much he knew. “Jame’.. Jamian. I’d never do that to you, you know that, right? You’d tell me if I was doing something you didn’t like?”
“Yes. Yes, I’d tell you.” Wouldn’t he? As long as it didn’t make her unhappy…