Thursday, March 15, 2001
Kendo lessons were still a high point of Leofric’s week. Practicing with his cy’ree was one thing, and he did like it, but it was… it was complicated. There was the issue of “is it okay to hit someone’s Kept” some people couldn’t get past, and the funny looks when his collar changed, and…
Kendo, on the other hand, was just him and Luke. He could change into his uniform, focus on the techniques, and just forget about everything else for a little while. Even showering and changing in the empty locker room afterwards was strangely soothing; it had the same feeling as kendo, of something that hadn’t been… tainted, by the dark corruption magic he could see creeping through the school, some days.
He closed his locker and stared at it, considering the possible metaphor and feeling pretty convinced that it wasn’t a metaphor at all. But what could he do against something like that? If it was some kind of tangible enemy – someone he could hit with a sword, or a stick, or even just a fist – he might have some kind of a chance. But something like an evil magical corruption? Fighting against that kind of thing was the job of magical girls, with their powers of Love and Light and Friendship – and there was no way he was a magical girl. Although, if he was going to look at the idea seriously, there were the Sailor Starlights…
Leofric realized with a start that he was already out in the halls, walking back to the suite, and it took him another moment to realize he must be under an order to come right back. He couldn’t remember what the order was, but… well. He didn’t have to remember orders, after alll the Keeping made sure he followed them whether he remembered them or not. And his Keeper wasn’t ordering him to do anything bad or uncomfortable or illegal.
She – Lydia – she was nice. He wished she wasn’t afraid of him.
(He wished he wasn’t afraid of her.)
The order led Leofric through the halls to the right suite, a convenience he appreciated, since he never had gotten the hang of finding his way around the halls. He really was completely hopeless on his own, wasn’t he? The thought was comfortingly (uncomfortably) familiar, like he’d had it a lot, for as long as he could remember. As he arrived in front of a door, he stopped and looked at it.
There weren’t any more orders making him do anything, he realized after a moment. He didn’t have to go in. Leofric stood there, considering the door and his options, then turned to walk away.
Someone was behind him. A tall, dark-skinned man who Leofric knew, but he couldn’t…
“Aviv,” he said under his breath. It sounded right; it must be his name.
As if confirming his memory, Aviv nodded. “I’m here to see Lydia. Mind if I come in?”
“No?” Leofric stepped out of– no, he was opening the door and stepping in, almost like he’d been ordered to, except he didn’t feel the pressure of an order. (He felt something twisting around his thoughts and, briefly, remembered magical girls and magical corruption.)
“Aviv’s here to see you,” he announced.
Lydia was on the sofa, looking nervous and not at all surprised. “Hi, Aviv, come on in. Leofric, I need you to stay in the living room with us.”
That was an order, or close enough, so Leofric moved over to the edge of the room, just enough to count as in the room.
“Carter explained things to you already?”
“Mostly, yes. I’m willing to take him off your hands.”
Lydia nodded. “I have some assurances I need you to give me, first, it was part of the conditions for, um… from Sheba. If you don’t mind?”
“I don’t think so, but let’s hear them first,” Aviv said easily, leaning back in the chair.
From Leofric’s view over to the side, the whole scene had a kind of niggling familiarity to it, like deja vu. Sheba and Lydia, Sheba and Aviv… no, it hadn’t been Aviv, it’d been… been….
He caught himself reaching for someone’s hand – but no one was there. There should be someone there, shouldn’t there? Or maybe had been before… But deja vu wasn’t usually because of really repeating events. He determinedly stuck his hands in his pockets, realizing at some point he’d sat down on the floor. That was fine, he couldn’t go anywhere after all, since she still needed him to stay in the living room.
“Leofric?” That was her voice. “Come here, please.”
It wasn’t an order, so it took him a moment of warring between go over and don’t go over before he pushed himself to his feet and trudged over to the sofa. “Yeah?”
She held out a hand to him – he didn’t take it, and she lowered it, looking… sad? Not scared, this time. “Leofric, you Belong to Aviv now.”
“You Belong to me,” Aviv agreed and stood.
The two of them were talking, he thought, but Leofric’s world was too busy realigning itself for him to be sure. It was a familiar feeling, he could almost remember it from before, when he’d been given to Lydia; the sudden loosening snip around his mind as the Bond and orders let go, then pulling again as it pointed at his new Keeper. Part of him wondered what would happen if you passed a Kept back and forth repeatedly, like playing catch or bouncing a yo-yo. Could you get–
“Leo.” The voice had the weight of Keeper to it, but it was male.
Leofric blinked, feeling unexpectedly adrift, and turned to face he– him, his Keeper.
“Let’s go, Leo.” Aviv held out a hand.
Leofric looked at the offered hand and realized, to his surprise, he was holding it, and Aviv was leading him out into the hall.