Saturday, March 17, 2001
Arnbjörg was sweaty, frozen, exhausted, bruised, and happier than she’d been in weeks. Doug had taken his little cy’ree outside for sparring and they’d all gotten a chance to practice their innate powers and how they interacted with magic. “Next year,” he’d told the first-year students, “we can try a real hunt. Maybe this summer.”
A real hunt. A real hunt, with real monsters she was actually allowed to fight, with creatures she was allowed to kill. Arnbjörg had never killed anything bigger than a mouse, and that had been almost an accident. She wondered what it would be like to kill a monster, a real bad guy.
“Hey, bitch. You know what happens to bitches who don’t know their place?”
Rand’s nose was fixed, of course. It would be far too much to hope that Dr. Caitrin would have left it broken like that to teach him a lesson.
“They teach everyone else what their actual place is? Come on, Rand, you know damn well I told you to get out of my face and you didn’t listen. No court in the land would convict me.”
“Who’s talking about a court? I’m going to beat your ass into a pulp. I’m going to -”
“No.” Arnbjörg shook her head. “No, you’re not going to attack me.”
“Yeah? Says who?”
“Says the part where I’m not a moron.” She smirked at him. “Says the part where I am not getting in trouble with my girlfriend for you again, you miserable piece of shit. Says me.”
“Yeah? Well, let’s see about that. I-” He swung at her and missed.
“Oh, says that, too.”
“Using Workings on me! That’s against the rules!” He swung again, and missed again. Arbjorg resisted the urge to laugh in his face.
“Actually, it’s not. At all. That would ruin the whole idea of this place, wouldn’t it? We’re a test bed for being fae. And I could use magic on you if I had to.’
“But that’s an attack!”
“No. A, nobody said I did use Workings. And b, come on. All that’s happened is that you couldn’t hit me. I mean, that could just be your shitty aim- nope.” She ducked as he tried to hit her again. “This is actually more fun than hitting you. And all that for breaking your nose. You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if Regine doesn’t let you out of her. I mean, you’re out of control. You’re a menace to society. You’re going to be even worse out there in the world.”
Something about his expression was interesting. He swung again, even more wildly. This time, he missed without any help from Arnbjörg’s power. “Oh, that worries you, does it? I mean, with all the rumors going around about someone killing their Keeper, I’d be more worried that someone was going to murder you-”
“Even you have to have orders against killing people!”
“You know, I don’t think I do.” She grinned widely at Rand. “And my Keeper is particularly against people being assholes, you know.”
“So she just lets you roam free hitting whomever you like?”
“I didn’t say that. I have to limit my attacks to assholes, for one. Luckily, this place is full of assholes like you. Now. Are you going to stop making a fool of yourself and let me go, or are you going to try to hit me again?”
Rand stepped in and grabbed the front of her shirt, faster than she’d thought he could move. “Listen, bitch,” he snarled. “I’ve had just about enough of first-year brats who think they’re hot shit. I had to put up with the Thorn Girls, have you heard of them? I had to tolerate their crazy and their bullshit collar for an entire year, and I put up with it like a good Kept, because I was a first-year, and that’s the shit that happens. I go after someone all nice and soft my second year, and what do I get? I get a thousand fucking porcupine quills! And this year I get a frigid bitch who’d rather fuck her cy’ree than me and has already broken my nose twice and my hand once. And you know what? Fuck all that shit. Fuck it all sideways with a cucumber stuck with razor blades. Because I did my time, and if your fucking pussy-ass Keeper won’t show you what your time is supposed to look like, I may very well challenge him and take you. And how would you like that, mmm?”
Arnbjörg wasn’t scared, but she was a little impressed at the sheer level of venom he was spewing. “You’re angrier than I am,” she commented. “I didn’t think that was possible.”
“Didn’t think it was possible? Little girl, you haven’t seen anything yet in this fucking place. You have jack and shit to be angry about until you get to the point where you have to have kids and no, you don’t get a damn say in what happens to them. Try that one on for size.”
“Wait, what?” She wanted to grab his wrist with both hands and twist, but if she did that, she was taking this out of the place where she could pretend to be innocent of any wrong-doing and taking it in to a straight-out attack on her. He hadn’t hit her yet. She was pretty sure he still couldn’t. “What do you mean – what sort of bitch…” She trailed off, because she knew bitches like that. “..I’m sure you’d made a lovely father,” she said instead, as sarcastically as she could manage. “You call your kids bitches and try to hit them, too?”
“Oh, fuck you. how do you know how I’d be with a kid? How does anyone know how I’d be with a kid? I’m a dad and I don’t get to find out. Lily’s kid, I won’t ever get to see her. I get to name the baby, that’s it. So I have a baby I’ve named and even though the Thorn Girls don’t give a shit about babies,” he sneered the name like it was a curse, “here I am with no kid and no visitation. Even the freaking US government gives visitation. And you, you can have babies with your girlfriend and, I don’t know, both of you can be the mother.”
“That’s usually how lesbians work.” She was distracted, though. “No say at all?”
“None.” He sneered at her. “Your Keeper lets you wander the halls. He lets you mouth off to people. And you, miss too-good-for-anyone, get to decide if you keep your kids or not, and if the father has any say in it. So don’t go around like the world is so fucking bad. You’ve got it easy.”
He let go of her with a shove and stalked off, leaving Arnbjörg staring after him.