Saturdays are usually my day off in the week that I take for my own personal enjoyment. I sleep in, I go to belly dancing, we go out to eat and then I go to Stitch-n-Bitch Lex. That means I tend not to get home until pretty late, and I’m completely exhausted when I do.
The stage is now set for today’s offering. Enjoy!
10:55 pm 11/9/13
Rain woke and ran for the bathroom without thought. The magic of the Underground led her there, being kind enough to transition straight to the bathroom from her bedroom door. Rain retched and retched until her stomach was empty, but it wasn’t enough. She couldn’t get the churning feeling, or the feeling of “get this out of me” to go away. She lay her head against the cool bowl, hoping that if she didn’t move, the world would just go away.
Instead, someone knocked on the door and brought the world into sharper focus.
“Rain child? May I come in?”
It was Meliki, the woman with all the answers. She’d made Rain feel better at the coffee shop, maybe she could help now. She tried to call out, but instead just vomited again. Meliki took that for a yes.
She felt dreadful for putting the girl through this, but she stood by her decision. She was positive her quick reactions had been the only thing to save Nanae’s life, and almost certainly the girl’s as well.
She went and knelt by Rain’s side, laying her hand on the back of the girl’s neck. She pulled what magic she could, but they were in a space outside of the world, maintained only by magic. There was only so much she could do.
“I’m sorry, my dear, and there’s no need for alarm, but you’re currently being poisoned.”
Rain wanted to sit bolt up and scream “What!” but settled for cracking an eye and giving Meliki a good solid wtf glare.
“Our fey magic is trying to drown out whatever magic you have. The well water we gave you was like a “cheat” to trick your body into believing it was fey – but that’s worn off now. I can give you more, and it will make the pain go away, but you cannot leave the sithen while the well water is within you. Without our magic, you will feel exactly as you do now.”
She eased up on the flow of magic she was pulling from the girl, letting the full weight of the sithen settle on her. She doubled over on herself, hands clutching at her ribs as the magic twisted about inside her. Meliki let the power flow back into herself, knowing it wouldn’t help much, but some was better than none.
“Your parents will eventually come looking for you, but I do not know how long that will be.” Not an outright lie, but it was a bit of a stretch. “If it is soon, we will have to keep you until the well water wears off again. But if it is not soon, I am afraid the wait will not be a pleasant one.”
Rain felt as if her insides were going to burst. The pain was too much to think around. All she heard was relief could happen now, and trouble could come later. She’d take relief now and deal with trouble when she had to.
“W-water, please,” she croaked.
Meliki frowned. It wasn’t enough. She knew what the girl wanted, but it wasn’t specific enough that she could claim the girl asked for the water of her own free will.
“I must caution you, too much water and the effects won’t wear off. It’s purpose is to make mortal humans able to serve in fey sithens – you will develop a tolerance, and you will then be unable to live outside the fey realms-”
“Don’t care, give it to me.”
The girl turned and retched again, a dry, empty sound. Meliki pulled a little more magic from her and reached into her pocket for the vial.
Rain downed it greedily, sitting up and leaning back against the wall with her eyes closed. She still felt wretched, but she wasn’t going to explode anymore.
“Doubtless, you have many questions, but I imagine your physical discomfort outweighs your curiosity?”
Physical discomfort? That was a mild way of putting it. Rain simply nodded, carefully.
“Then why don’t you return to bed and we’ll see what has happened when you next awake?”
Again, Rain nodded, and Meliki pulled a rare act of blatant magic to move them straight to her room. Rain didn’t question it, she was already nearly asleep again and was grateful to be leaning against a pillow instead of the wall.
7:41 10 mins 11:14 pm
Meliki pursed her lips at him as she spoke, but waited politely for him to finish.
“And what am I supposed to do with you while we wait? This is a business of mine, and it’s late enough in the afternoon that we’ll start to hit our evening rush of patrons soon.”
He returned her gaze cooly, unconcerned. “You could simply give me my daughter and let us leave.”
“Aah, actually. About that…”
Zig appeared from the downstairs, doing his best meek underling act. The witch would have no reason to suspect him of being anything but another fey, and hopefully dismiss him right out of hand. Unfortunately for the strange, Zig had a very power weapon up his sleeve. He could lie.
Meliki turned at his “interruption”, hoping things would go as they planned. He dropped his gaze in the perfect show of obeisance and delivered his “unwanted” news.
“I’m, I’m sorry Kuloa, she, the girl- she woke again, and the pain was worse than before. I- I didn’t know what else to do, so I-” He lowered his head completely, begging forgiveness. “I gave her more well water, Kuloa. I didn’t know what else to do, I couldn’t tell what was happening to her-”
All of his stammered was lost under the sound of Myles’ true outrage.
“You did WHAT!?” He lunged toward Zig, who ducked back behind the door, escaping back downstairs. He stayed nearby, should Meliki need him, but his role was most likely over.
Meliki gave the witch cool eyes and a raised eyebrow. His reaction was quite unexpected, and quite revealing.
“She’s been our sithens for at least half the cycle of the sun. You didn’t think we’d leave writhing in agony under the press of so much magic, did you?”
“So you poison her instead!?” His over-reaction could be a costly mistake, he needed to get the situation back under control. A day’s worth of fey magic wouldn’t be enough to bind her, he just needed to get her back as quickly as possible. Nothing had really changed. Now he just had to wrap concerned parent around him that much more thickly to cover the slip. Easy enough.
“I’m not ignorant of your ways, fey. I know perfectly well the measures you take to adapt your captives to life underground. The gall, to make her own of your own-”
“I have no intention of keeping her,” she interjected, surprised that it wasn’t an outright lie. But it was quite true – this girl was not worth the trouble. This witch was clearly overreacting for something so simple. Rain was too important to him for Meliki to want to keep her around. Of course, if the circumstances forced her to, that was another matter entirely. But as of this moment, she had no intentions of keeping the girl, if she could avoid it. Good to know.
She moved quickly on before he could recover from her interruption. “As I said, we were merely trying to accommodate her. I knew when I first brought her inside our walls that she was warded by another. I contest that in no way. But I also recognized the owner of said ward had some interest in the girl’s well being, and as I had no way of knowing how long it would take someone to come find it, I acted in the only sustainable way I know. Yes, she would have survived a single day without my interference – once I’d gotten her magic back under control – but I had no way of knowing it would be a single day, and I was not about to risk further wrath from whoever came for her by allowing her to languish under the weight of our sithen. It’s called hospitality,” she spat.
“Fey hospitality is infamous,” he countered, words full of venom. “Hence my concern.”
Rain’s mother arrived on the scene, bursting through the door, ending all other conversation.
“My baby! Where’s my baby?!”
Zig heard the distressed woman enter, clearly Rainy’s mother, and moved downstairs to go fetch her. He’d brief her on the situation and hope that the kid had a good head on her shoulders.
He knocked softly on her door, not knowing if she’d be awake or not. She wasn’t, or didn’t want to be, but his knocking roused her enough that she called out for him to come in.
“Hey kiddo. How ya feelin’?” He moved to sit on the edge of her bed, patting her leg companionably.
“Surprisingly less crappy than the last time I woke up.”
Her voice was dry and cracked, her throat still raw from screaming and vomiting and whatever else, but still this was better. Zig handed her a water bottled, making a point of opening it for her.
“Sealed and normal, just plain water.”
She drank it greedily, pulling in half the bottle before stopping herself. “As if I care. I don’t know a lot about what’s going on, but I know well water keeps me from feeling like a cat in the microwave, so I’ll take it.”
Zig laughed softly, trying not to shake the bed too much. “A cat in a microwave – yeah, that about sums in it. Still though, I know Meliki told you it’s addictive. It will bind you to her, her magic, and tie you to the Underground foreve-”
“I really don’t care Zig. I know it’s probably just the freaked out talking, but it really doesn’t matter to me if I never see anything of my old life again. Maybe if I could go back in time to before mom met Myles…” She trailed off for a second, and Zig was left wondered how on earth to break it to her that her parents were upstairs as they spoke. She shook herself and kept talking however, sparing him for the moment.
“I know nothing is ever gonna be the same. I’ve figured that much out. I haven’t had much clarity since Nanae came over to talk to me, but I’ve been able to piece together that not everything out there is human, that she wasn’t human, or her sisters, or Meliki, and that I’m probably not either…” That thought was beyond depressing, but she pushed on. “So, whatever else is going on, I get that there’s no going back. There’s no pretending that this all didn’t happen, so if I can’t undo it… This is gonna sound really shitty, but if I’m stuck having to let go of every idea I ever had about the world and reality, I’d kinda like to be able to let go of every idea, and just start over. Life took a real cruddy turn for me, but there’s a bright side to everything, ya know?”
He listened attentively as she spoke, knowing exactly how she felt. He wouldn’t go back to the West Coast for anything, even if he could do so without Clarissa turning him. Honestly, he’d taken almost everyone that mattered with him anyways. But if he was lost and alone in the world, without Tripp… would he care what happened to him? Hell, would he care if he’d been turned? Probably not. He could really see where this kiddo was coming from, even if he didn’t know the specifics.
And then she mentioned silver lining and he just lost his shit. Rain gave him a wtf look. “Dude, what the hell? I get smiling til ya feel like it but I just told you my sob story and you’re laughing?”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, it’s just- silver lining. Rain cloud-” And then he was sucked in by giggles again.