July 20, 2016 by Lyn
I wanna talk about me
Wanna talk about I
Wanna talk about number one
Oh my me my
What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see
I like talking about you you you you, usually, but occasionally
I wanna talk about me
Evening, the first Wednesday in April
Kailani thought the idea of a breeding project sounded rational. Shahin thought that the school was building an army. Jamian… thought about the kids.
Not just his babies, the one he was carrying and the one Ty was carrying, but his Keeper’s other children, and all the kids growing up in the Village; Ivette’s kids she never saw, Magnolia’s two daughters, Phelen’s son Raven. They were all going to come here. They were all going to go through what he and Kai and Shahin had gone through.
Someone had committed him before he was born to sending his children into this place. He had to believe they hadn’t had any idea what they were getting into.
And he had to believe he could do better for his kids – and Ty’s kids – than his parents had. He had to send them in better prepared.
To do that, he needed to know everything he could, leaving here. And figure out how to not forget it, if the mind control started to make him a zombie.
He needed to train more. “Would it work better,” he asked Ty, when it seemed like his Keeper was in a good mood, “if you asked Phelen for me if I could, you know, hang out with Manira?”
Ty pondered the question for a moment. “Probably. You want to spend more time talking?”
“Yeah, if you don’t mind? She’s fun to talk to, when you get her to keep her clothes on.”
“You keep saying that,” Ty laughed. “I think you’re doing this whole cy’Linden thing wrong.”
Bad Kept. Doing it wrong. Making your Keeper unhappy. Bad, bad, bad. Jamian shook his head to shut up the feelings, and smiled painfully back at Ty. “If I was doing the cy’Linden thing properly, you wouldn’t be happy with me.”
That elicited a spark of surprise. “I… yeah, I guess I probably would.” Ty hugged him awkwardly. “So I probably shouldn’t complain about you liking the cy’Linden girls better with their clothes on, hunh?”
“Just Manira,” he protested. “And, well Magnolia. I don’t like Agatha at all.”
“Nobody does.” Ty laughed shortly. “She’s an enigma. A strange, bitchy enigma.”
“Shahin thinks she brainwashed her crew,” Jamian offered, feeling reassured by the smiles and Ty’s generally good mood.
“I don’t… think she has the Words for that. But it’s something she’d do. Or pay someone to do. Aggie’s always wanted as many men around her as possible.”
“What does that mean for Shahin? Or… for Nydia?”
“Hunh.” Ty frowned, his emotions sliding into that unfamiliar-for-him “pondering” place. “Different situations, I’d say. Shahin’s married to Emrys, they’re ia’ to each other. Nobody can take that away, and it should supersede any mind control.”
“Kai said the Bond did that, too?”
“Yeah, although I hear it’s not pleasant.”
Jamian nodded. “That’s what she said about it – that you could get around the school’s mind control,” shit did I just say that? Nothing to do but keep on going, “with direct orders, but that it caused her Kept, uh, caused Conrad a lot of pain.”
“Hunh.” Ty’s “pondering” feelings stuttered for a moment, and then kept going. “That’s why he did that. That’s what they were complaining about.”
“Thinking about the mind control doesn’t bug you?” Jamian asked, curiosity getting the best of him.
“What? Oh.” Again, Ty’s emotions stuttered for a moment and then plowed through. “The geasa and stuff. I’ve never fought it, so I guess it leaves me alone. Yeah, there’s stuff we can’t tell the younger students. There’s good reasons for it.”
“So they’re easier to Keep?”
“So they’re easier to surprise into Changing. Although it didn’t take much with you, did it?” Ty caressed the hair between Jamian’s horns affectionately. “Bam! And there you were with horns and a tail.”
“Bam,” Jamian smiled. They’d gotten far afield; had that been on purpose? “So you think Shahin and Emrys will be fine?”
“Well, as fine as any married couple. But I don’t think Aggie could keep them apart if she wanted to, not now.”
“That’s good.” Jamian felt a bit relieved for his friend. “It’s gotta be weird, dating in a different crew.”
“That’s why new students are usually Kept into their Keeper’s crew. What Shahin did with her friends, and sort of what you and Shahin and Kai are doing – that’s not how it’s normally done.” Ty kissed his forehead apologetically. “Not that it’s a bad thing, Jame’. It’s just different. But you’re good at being different.”
“I… thanks. So the way things are normally done…”
“More like Nikita, or Nydia. And her and Dysmas… well, he has another year, but Keepings usually last a year and generally the Kept goes on with their own life after that.”
“Like Shiva and Niki did?” Not thinking about graduation. Not thinking about graduation…. Damn it. “Like I’m going to?”
That got him a tight hug and an apologetic kiss. “I’ll come back and visit, you know I will. Lots and lots.”
“I… thanks.” He squeezed Ty as tightly as he could. Time to think about something else, please. “So… will you talk to Phelen about me talking to Manira, please?”
Ty held tightly to him for a moment longer, a surge of affection and amusement almost overwhelming Jamian’s senses. “Of course I will. Anything you want, sweetheart. Anything. And you ask for so little.”
Jamian smiled up at him. “I figure ‘don’t be mad when I get in trouble’ is asking for plenty.”
Ty’s amusement surged. “I don’t need a pet. I’ve never liked the idea of helpless toys with no volition – not for myself, at least.”
The painful part of it, Jamian considered, was that Ty really meant that. “I appreciate it anyway.”
“I’ll go talk to Phelen…” Ty paused as Jamian’s hand drifted down near his tail. “Ah… perhaps I’ll talk to Phelen later?”
“I’d like that. I really do appreciate you,” Jamian explained. And, despite all the teasing, he really was a Daeva, and Ty was very, very inspired by sex.
It ended up being late the next day when Phelen allowed Manira to go walking with Jamian again. She looked amused by the whole thing, but her emotions were in turmoil, enough that she was letting some leak, frustration and anger and a big bundle of eagerness.
“Can you talk about it?” He waited until they were in the grotto to ask, where there were at least less likely to be overheard.
She shot him a heavy, meaningful look. “Yes. No. Yes, but I’m not sure I want to. He’s normally so easy to handle; I don’t know what got into him.”
Jamian laughed. “The whole cy’ree thinks you’re generally sweet and naïve, you know, except the whole half-out-of-your-clothes thing.”
“What’s that have to do with anything?” she scowled.
“So why do you pretend with everyone else? Or why don’t you pretend with me?”
“How do you know this isn’t the pretense?” She was getting uncomfortable, her body language starting to mirror her emotions. Jamian tried to make his voice gentle when he answered.
“Because I’m an empath, Manira, a Daeva. I can read your emotions – when you let me.”
“Oh.” She didn’t say anything for a few minutes, although her emotions were swirling and tumbling messily. Then her emotions calmed, smoothed, and vanished. “And now?”
“Nothing. It’s kind of creepy, actually.”
“I think I can teach you the trick. It’s obviously not perfect, but it’s good cover when you’re dealing with other Daeva or succubi. I can’t really explain most of what’s going on, but I – someone ought to tell you,” she interrupted herself. “And I can’t see it being Linden-Blossom and that damn Grigori likes her secrets to much to tell you anything.” She took a breath, notable for the fact that she didn’t raise her chest up to push against her buttons. “I promise that I’ll tell you when I can, everything I can about me as it involves this school.”
Nothing happened. That didn’t surprised Jamian at all, but it seemed to surprise Manira. She kicked the nearest plant, danced back as it reached for her, and muttered for a few minutes. Jamian wasn’t certain, but it sounded as if she was swearing in… Old English? Or maybe French. “Well.” She looked down at her toes. “Just pretend that worked, okay? When… well, I’ll promise you when I can.”
“I believe you.” Jamian wanted to pat her shoulder, but wasn’t sure she’d like that. “I know there’s a lot you can’t tell me. There’s a lot everyone can’t tell me.”
“I have more to tell, though.” She was still looking at her toes, looking more like pretend-Manira than he’d seen her in all their time alone. “I’m trying, though. I think it’s important.”
“I think I’m getting more of it. The Council lady, Morgan, she was really surprised about Frodelikr. But I forgot to ask her about the gods.” He was more than a little annoyed at himself for that. “Do you think the Library might have something?”
She smiled brightly at him, letting loose a flood of relief and surprise. “That’s the best idea I’ve heard all day.”