They’d watched Sheba and Magnolia graduate with all the appropriate fanfare, cheered them loudly and left Howard and Magnolia and Sheba and Zita to say goodbye as they wanted.
In a startling show of empathy, Phelen had wandered off, leaving Arnbjörg and Jaya alone, and they, in turn, had grabbed a blanket and headed out to the meadow.
The sun was bright and warm over them. The air felt just right, like you could lie out in nothing but skin and be perfectly comfortable. And Jaya was pressed against her, Mask down and not wearing a whole lot more than skin. Continue reading →
“So are we gonna do it?” Arnbjörg was shifting her weight from the balls of her feet to her heels and back again. “I mean. I know Leo went a little…” She considered the room and forced a little bit of tact to come out of her mouth. “Well, he was having some trouble with blackouts when he was here?”
Zita looked at her pointedly. “I don’t know. Are you going to do it?” Her tone was too pleasant to be real.
Arnbjörg looked straight back at Zita. “Should we?”
“Eight months ago, sure. Now?” Zita shrugged.
Arnbjörg considered that answer, looked at Zita again, and decided it was a yes. Continue reading →
Arnbjörg curled up against Jaya on the couch, her girlfriend-and-Keeper’s head on her shoulder. They were watching a movie – Dangerous Beauty – something about a high-class prostitute in Venice. The rest of the crew was with them, paying varying degrees of attention to the movie.
“Ever think about that as a living?” Sheba mused quietly. “I mean, the right Words and the right skills and you wouldn’t really have to work hard. Some healing Words and it wouldn’t be so dangerous. What? Ivette talks about it sometimes. Lady Mau did it. We’re fae, different morals apply.”Continue reading →
Arnbjörg had just finished running laps of the gym, after a session with the heavy bag and enough weights that her shoulders and back had that happy ache to them. For once, she was enjoying walking through the halls unbothered.
“No! No, I’m not going to… let go of me!” A flash of lightning ripped through the hallway; the lights flickered and burnt out, leaving only the dim “Hell Night” red emergency lights.
Arnbjörg reached for a weapon she didn’t have anymore.
“I think you should leave him alone.” The lights flickered but did not turn back on, as a second voice chimed in, similar to the first one and both familiar…
They were her half-brothers, Arnbjörg realized. Ragnvaldr and Leofric.
“She might seem nice now, but she’s not stable, and it’s not a healthy situation.” The new, third speaker released his quarry, however, and stepped back until he was silhouetted against one of the red lights. “Rory, I’m just saying…”Continue reading →
Xaviera liked to go to the cy’Linden parties. Ofir was pretty sure by now that it was something to do with her memories of Ardell. He’d treated her like a thing, like an object.
Ofir wasn’t going to do that, at least. She was a person. When she wasn’t ignoring him, he was actually kind of fond of her. She wasn’t all that bright, but that was fine. He could steer her easier if she didn’t notice exactly what he was doing.
There were a lot of things that were easier if she didn’t notice quite what he was doing. Continue reading →
She wasn’t trying, perhaps, as hard as she ought to or as often as she ought to, but Arnbjörg was trying hard to accept this place. It was just…
“It’s so fucked up.” She threw up her hands.
“What?” Jaya turned to look at her. They were studying together on their bed, Jaye’s head on Arnbjörg’s shoulder. They hadn’t been talking at all; Arnbjörg had been glaring at her textbook and attempting to focus.
Arnbjörg was lying on Jaya’s bed, studying, or at least looking at her book, and she was humming. Much to her surprise, she found she was in a good mood.
She shouldn’t be. Not after that scene in the lunch room – murder? A Keeper getting herself murdered?
Doug had grunted at her when she asked. Jaya hadn’t known anything, and had looked, Arnbjörg thought, quite worried. It wasn’t like Arnbjörg was going to murder any – well, she wasn’t going to murder Jaya.
Everybody was muttering about it, but nobody seemed to know any more than she did, which was novel. Maybe that’s why she was in a good mood.
Maybe it was the way Jaya and Sheba had stood up for her – had stood with her. Even though none of her half-siblings were talking to her, at least she knew that her girlfriend’s crew had her back. And that – that warm feeling of not alone – was enough to carry her over quite a few problems, even the thorny one of who had gotten murdered.
“Good,” Doug grunted, as Arnbjörg pushed back against his strike with a block and a shouted No. “Fun power.” He took a step backwards, nodded. “Again.” Again, and again, and again, blocking and pushing with her power and striking back, until sweat drenched her hair and she felt like her arms and legs were made of rubber. “Good. Enough.” Doug leaned against the wall and gestured at her. “Walk.” She paced the small training room, once, twice, until he gestured to her, enough, and leaned against the wall with him. “Fun power,” he repeated, and then, “Aelfgar kids. Always have fun powers.” Doug didn’t say anything without purpose. Doug barely spoke. Arnbjörg glanced at him, waiting to see what else he’d say. Continue reading →
Arnbjörg stumbled out of Jaya’s room sleepily Saturday morning to find the whole crew-plus sitting around the TV. She checked herself compulsively: yes, she was wearing pajamas, yes, they covered everything, yes her hair was tolerable.
“Late night?” Sheba asked. “Jaya said you were out at the dance forever.”
Arnbjörg looked away. “Jaya wasn’t having fun.” She noticed Jaya wasn’t saying anything. “But I was having a good time with the cy’Luca boys.” Continue reading →