July 27, 2016 by Lyn
Second year of the Addergoole School
Anatoliy was late. Amanada lounged against the gym doorway, posing to best show off the short-skirted schoolgirl outfit she’d bought, just yesterday, just to see his reaction. She’d know if he was coming, of course; even if his body didn’t fill the hallway, his presence would. He was, her Tolly, a larger-than-life man. She loved that about him, even if he was so very much larger now than he had been before his Becoming. She loved the way he looked at her when she dressed up for him, and the way his giant hands touched her, and the sweet way he reacted to her pouting, or her teasing, or really to anything she did.
“Waiting for someone?”
“Ack!” She lost her footing, and, mortified, glared at the intruder. He, in return, shoved his hands deep in his pockets and smiled back at her, rather shyly looking down a nose that was nearly a beak.
“I’m sorry.” He bobbed his head, shaking the multi-colored featherlike layers of his hair into a new arrangement, like a slow-motion fire. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“Hunh?” She’d been fascinated by his hair, staring at the way the colors shifted from golden to russet to brown and back to yellow. “Oh, well, you shouldn’t sneak up on people.”
“I’m sorry,” he repeated, with the same fascinating head-bob. “You looked a little lonely; I thought I could keep you company while you waited.”
“Oh.” He seemed harmless enough, and she was getting awfully bored waiting for Anatoliy to show up. “Sure,” she shrugged.
“Great.” He leaned against the opposite side of the doorframe, and then, just as he’d gotten settled, shifted forward, his feet still in the same place, to offer her a hand. “I’m Ciro, by the way.”
His hands were kind of deformed, with massively knobby knuckles and thick, slate-gray claws in lieu of fingernails, but it wasn’t, by far, the worst she’d seen. She set her hand in his carefully. “Amanada. I think we have Biology together.”
“And Trig, but I sit in the back.” He shook her hand delicately. “Last year, it was History and Sport.” He retreated to his doorjamb, while she racked her brain. Oh, that was right; he’d looked different before his Becoming, less birdlike and with drabber, brownish hair.
“You sat next to me at Orientation, our first day.”
His face lit up in a smile: he was even easier than Tolly! He just wanted to be noticed. “I did,” he agreed. “I didn’t think you’d remember me.”
“Of course I do,” she fibbed cheerfully. If you made the mental shift to look at him as sort of partially-bird rather than just having an unfortunately sharp nose and knobby hands, he looked rather handsome. The hair was a definite improvement over his original ‘do; she wondered if he could get away with keeping it with his Mask up. Others got away with weirder, but it probably wouldn’t be polite to suggest it. Anyway, she could see Anatoliy coming down the hall. “Thanks for waiting with me,” she said sweetly. “Tolly’s late a lot. I’m sure I’ll see you again tomorrow?”
“Sounds good to me.” He faded back into the gym, so that, by the time her giant reached her, he was long gone. She turned on her best sulk and pouted at Tolly as he tried to hug her.
“You left me all alone. Who knows what could have happened?” Nothing would have happened. Even if her giant was sweet and gentle, no-one was going to risk laying a hand on her when her boyfriend could crush them by accident. But the thought was still there. A girl had gotten taken on a Friday last week, and no-one had seen her until her classes on Monday. She wouldn’t say a word – not just about what had happened; she wasn’t talking at all. Everyone had stayed close to home for a couple weeks after that.
“I’m sorry, sweetie. Agatha…”
There was more answer, but she didn’t hear it. She sulked; he apologized. She sulked more because the apology involved the word “Agatha;” he apologized more profusely. And then he bought her stuff.
She was showing off her new necklace and pretty high heels when he was late again, two days later, and there, again, was Ciro. He planted himself across the doorjamb from her, and, after a moment, told her “You look very nice today.”
“You think so?” She made a little wiggle, intended to best show off her assets in the cute little dress. “I wasn’t sure if the heels were too much with this dress.” They were, but that, after all, was the point.
He followed her hands down to the hem of the dress, floating somewhere half an inch below decency, the lace tops of her stockings only covered if she held perfectly still. She was rewarded with a soft gulp.
“Certainly not too much. You look lovely.”
She grinned at him, thrilled to be getting the right responses. “Ooh, here’s Tolly! Thanks for waiting with me!” When she skipped off, she was certain the skirt flipped up, teasing him with the briefest sight of her white lace panties.
And so the game continued. She found herself putting more and more effort into her outfits, while still trying to make them seem as if it was accidental that she looked absolutely hot every time he saw her. She cared less when Anatoliy was late, though she still sulked just as much – and then used the pretty things he bought her to tease Ciro further.
This went on for weeks, Tolly never catching on. Ciro was always there when the giant wasn’t, and never there when he was; after a while, Amanada became fairly certain that he was using a combination of magic and old-fashioned stalking, but she didn’t really mind. It was kind of sweet, that he was so careful to be certain that she wasn’t left alone. And he made the nicest noises at her outfits.
She didn’t mean anything by it, of course; she liked being with her giant. He took good care of her, and he was wrapped around her little finger very nicely – even if he did spend far too much time at the silly rabbit Agatha’s beck and call. But Ciro was fun to play with, too, and it made her feel nice to have someone else looking after her when Tolly wasn’t around.
She was thinking much the same on a Friday afternoon in late October, waiting for Anatoliy and smiling coyly at Ciro, when two big hands grabbed her from behind; one slapped over her mouth while the other arm wrapped around her chest and lifted her upwards. She couldn’t even see her attacker, and she couldn’t manage much more than a muffled whimper in protest as she was bent backwards against someone’s chest, her skirt riding up against his – oh, dear, that was big.
She could see the girls standing in front of her, though, sharp-edged no-good punk sorts she knew to be Second Cohorts, carrying way too much weaponry and blocking the hall. “Well?” one of them snapped at Anda, no, at the man holding her. “Go!”
Go? Anda started struggling in earnest, but she was held in an iron grip; the more she wiggled, the tighter he held her.
No? Everyone else seemed as surprised as she was to see Ciro walk up between the sharp little hoodlum girls and Anda’s captor. Where was Tolly? She was beginning to get really, really scared. Juniper still hadn’t said anything, and it had been a month. She just sat in class and stared at the wall. Anda didn’t want to get up like that.
“No?” hissed the voice behind her. His breath smelled like rotten eggs and his voice sounded worse.
“She is not yours to take. Are you, Amanada sh’Caroline cy’Laurel oro’Ciro?”
oro… She stared at him, and found his expression far less mild and puppy-dog than she was used to. She found herself whimpering softly, shaking her head no, or trying to, but the hand across her mouth held her head immobile. She didn’t want to Belong to Ciro. She didn’t want to Belong to anyone, except maybe someday Tolly.
Damn it, where was Anatoliy? She really needed him right now, and he was no-where in sight! How could a man that big be so entirely inaccessible?
“The man asked a question,” the rotten-eggs voice hissed, “and I’m getting sick of standing out in the hallway waiting for an answer.”
She made a small noise, the most she could make, trying to make it sound like assent.
“Do not scream,” bad-eggs warned, and he removed his hand.
Anda cleared her throat, breathing shallowly against the stench. “I am not yours to take,” she said, looking at the hoodlum girls. She knew what else she had to say. “I am his. Ciro’s.”
“Well, Ciro?” demanded the lead girl. “Are you going to protect what’s yours?” The knives she was brandishing were the size of swords. Maybe Ciro wouldn’t fight her. Maybe her captor would … oh, maybe it wouldn’t be as bad for her as it had for Juniper?
Where was Anatoliy? It was too late now, of course, but maybe he could still fix this somehow.
In front of her, the girls closed on Ciro, and he stood there, and did nothing. They were coming at him from three sides, and he stood there, and did nothing. This was his way of protecting her?
The girl in the front struck at him with a knife, cutting through the thin cloth of his shirt, and the girl on his left lunged forward, shoving a knife into him. It made a horrible sound, and, still held up in the air, Anda cried out. She got a hand slapped back over her mouth for her efforts, and almost missed it as Ciro stumbled, nearly falling –
– and lit on fire, his clothing falling away in a pile of ash. Anda screamed, or tried to, but the hand on her mouth was nearly suffocating her. The girls backed off, and kept backing up, as Ciro approached. Finally, the lead girl held up her hands. “Yours,” she acknowledged, and Ciro, leaving melted holes in the carpet, stopped closing on them.
The heat coming off of him was enough to distort the air as he came towards her, a pillar of flame with the approximation of limbs. “Put her down.” The words crackled and popped off of him. “Or you’ll both burn.”
“You wouldn’t.” Her captor didn’t seem certain.
“Try me.” Ciro, on the other hand, sounded plenty sure of himself.
Her captor, deciding not to risk it, threw Anda at Ciro. She screamed, feeling the tips of her hair catch on fire –
– and he caught her, extinguishing himself as he did so, and she was being held in the arms of a naked man, his hand on her bare ass.
He kissed her, so rough and possessive that it was almost like being gored, and set her gently on her feet. “Go home with Anatoliy tonight,” he told her. “Tell him nothing about what happened today; if you need to, tell him someone had a fight near you in the halls. That’s true enough.” He grabbed her by the back of her head, and his gaze was piercing. “You will not tell anyone that you now Belong to me. Anyone. But tomorrow night you’ll sleep in my bed, and every night after that that I choose to have you. Are we understood?”
She sniffled softly, and nodded. What had happened to the sweet boy she’d been flirting with? What was she supposed to do with this creature? And why hadn’t Tolly shown up to rescue her? This was all his fault!
“Good.” He set her down gently, nodding sharply, as if agreeing with himself. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”