Graduation Day, 2001
It was over.
All the older students were in graduation right at that moment, so even if any of his crew still Belonged to any of them, it wouldn’t have been for much longer. The back of Leofric’s neck itched, his hair falling back against it where he hadn’t been able to feel it for… since the school year started. His eyes itched, too, in a weird feeling like he wanted to cry, or had been crying, but he couldn’t imagine why. They were free! They could leave.
Somehow he didn’t feel like packing up to leave yet, though, and besides, all his stuff was already packed up from– Continue reading
Tuesday, June 5, 2001
Cya sat quietly in her room, on a cushion on the floor between her two chests, her fingers working slowly on a tiny rainbow sweater without consulting her mind.
It had been two weeks. She didn’t get faint anymore when she stood up. Dr. Caitrin said she was nearly recovered.
Nearly recovered. She hadn’t even known there was anything wrong with her. Nearly recovered. And now she struggled against this sick feeling in her stomach every time she thought about Dysmas. Continue reading
Sunday, May 20, 2001
Everyone had noticed what Sheba’s crew was up to. Everyone, even the other cy’Luca – who he’d made some pointed comments at about being showed up by a bunch of girls, gotten into another fight, and been yelled at by Luke over, but it was worth it – had noticed them going around bullying all the shittiest Keepers into letting their Kept go.
Leofric would’ve thought better late than never, except the timing was less important than the one, significant, glaring gap in their rescue train.
No one had come for Cya. All these other rescues and they didn’t even so much as look at Cya.
He knocked – banged, really – on the door to Sheba’s suite, the suite where half his crew was being Kept.
Thursday, May 3, 2001
Leofric watched the pool in the grotto, the water’s surface rippling as Aviv swum around below. It was usually peaceful, spending time there, and this time was fortunately not an exception, which he was very much appreciating. (Even more than the view through the water, which he was also appreciating. It had taken weeks for Aviv to stop making self-deprecating comments about skinny dipping and traumatizing Leo. Weeks. It was like the man never looked in a mirror before!)
Theoretically, he could be swimming too, but swimming was not really his strong point. Electricity and water just don’t mix – you don’t throw a pikachu into a pond, not unless you hate the pikachu and are a jerk. So instead, most of the time he sat on the rocks near the pool in his swim trunks, watched, and did Idu Workings on the plants (which he was not allowed to eat, despite his Keeper clearly having a lot of experience doing exactly that). Continue reading
Tuesday, April 24, 2001
Cya had learned that when Aviv did that, it seemed to mean he was buying her and Leo a little private time. Cya looked at what she was cooking and moved things to the slow cooker. It could sit indefinitely that way, and she could think about more important things than food, like her friends.
“I was wondering if I could borrow Cynara for a bit.”
Wait, what? She continued moving through the paces of putting the food in the cooker, but she had to struggle to keep her ears from pointing right at Aviv. Even if nobody could see her ears, they were still a dead giveaway.
“Borrow her? What do you want her for?” Dysmas sounded – he sounded bored. She struggled with the stab of indignation and hurt. She bored him, did she? He didn’t even really care what someone else wanted with her. Continue reading
Friday, April 13, 2001
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
Wednesday, April 11, 2001
“So, I heard you got past Luke’s guard.”
“Yeah.” Leofric jabbed a punch at Conrad, shifting to the side to avoid Conrad’s counter as he missed. “We did.”
“I’m impressed.” Conrad smiled, then spun around in a kick – which Leofric realized was a feint just in time to dodge a tail grab. “How far did you get?”
Conrad wasn’t the first to ask him about his recent escape attempt. Their escape attempt. If it weren’t for that, Leofric would’ve written off the whole thing as a particularly depressing dream. As it was, all he could come up with were vague images of a dreary staircase and running over dead brown grass, then his thoughts slid away from it. Continue reading
Tuesday, April 3, 2001
Leofric had a plan.
He’d come up with it the past weekend, keeping it to himself – even if his Keeper seemed lax and helpful now, Leofric knew that the only way to be sure your Keeper wouldn’t tell you not to do something is if she– he didn’t know it was a thing in the first place.
Of course, Aviv hadn’t told him not to try to escape. He’d just said there wasn’t a way, while Leo felt along the boundary at the edge of “outside”.
Outside. Leofric had almost forgotten what it felt like, being outside. He hadn’t realized there was an outside they could get to, but then there it was, through a hidden invisible door, his Keeper leading him out and into the sun and sky and fresh air and letting him run. Even if there wasn’t a place he could run to, or a direction he could take to run away, he could still run. Continue reading
Eriko had made a mistake.
She wouldn’t ever admit it to anyone – it would make her look bad, making stupid mistakes like that – but after the third time some thing had written all over her room, or angry voices yelled at her from the walls, she’d had to admit that maybe, just maybe her former Kept hadn’t been pranking her the whole time.
Eriko would have scoffed at the idea of ghosts and poltergeists before – there were no such thing as ghosts. But there were no such thing as fairies and elves to the rest of the world, either. Down in this school, maybe there was such a thing. Continue reading
Friday, March 23, 2001
Leo was back.
No. No, someone in Leo’s body was back.
Someone with Leo’s hair and Leo’s sparks and Leo’s little spikes of antlers was in the suite. He Belonged to Aviv, now, because — as Cya understood it, as Zita had explained — Sheba had passed him on to Lydia, because Sheba had never intended to Keep him, just to get him away from Eriko.
Lydia’s boyfriend had been Kept with Aviv, which was generally understood to be something like a bond. And from what she’d heard — it was amazing what people would say around you if you closed down enough that they forgot you were a person — about why Lydia… why she gave him to Aviv, Cya got the feeling that Leo had no intention of ever being a good Kept again. Except, looking at him, she wasn’t always sure that he had any volition left for intention. Continue reading