Day 13 was a good day for me. One, it was a Wednesday, so I had the day off, and lots of little 2 hours chunks to write in between girlfriend’s classes. Two, it was my birthday, so I was in a great mood. Writing always seems to be easier when you’re in a good mood.
I did get a little funky with the timeline, but that pretty seems to be the way the rest of my NaNoing went. When I lost the first little chunk I knew about, I just wrote whatever came. It worked, but I don’t have a story yet. Then again, I think this story is too big for just 50k.
She said nothing on the ride home, a fact everyone seemed happy to ignore. Her mother blathered on at her, as if Brooke were answering and explaining herself- or more like her answers didn’t matter. When Brooke wasn’t busy trying not to hurl, she noticed Myles’ hand making tiny circles on the back of her mother’s. A flare of suspicion tucked itself away in the back of her brain. She would trust nothing this man did from here on out.
When they got home, she went straight to her room to lay down, no one stopping her. She lay very still, staring at the ceiling, mind going a million miles a minutes. What was really going on here? Had she been drugged? Why was she so keen to trust these strangers over the man her mother had chosen to marry. He’d been good to them, took care of them, taken them in off the streets-
No, that wasn’t right. Her and mom had had a nice enough apartment. Yeah, it was small, and leaky, and not in the best part of town, but they’d had a home, and always had food, just not always enough for other, less important things, like fashion or cellphones. But they hadn’t been penniless – where had that thought come from?
Brooke blinked into the dim light at her ceiling, utterly confused. Her head was swimming, and nothing made sense. She rolled over onto her side, picking her cellphone up off the nightstand. Myles had given it to her, sure, so she could keep in touch with her mother when they were away. He was a very important man, and it was important for his new wife to be with him. She got that, she really did, but… They just spent so much time away from home. How could her mother be ok with that?
Everything everyone had said rolled around in her skull, echoing off each other til the cacophony was nearly deafening. She held her hands over her ears, as if that would help. Into the noise she silently screamed QUIET! with as much will as she could muster. Everything stopped for a moment, and she drew a deep breath, steeling herself. She knew the noise would be back, just as sure as she knew it was meant to confuse her.
The question was, who was acting on her?
She’d been to the Early Bird dozens of times, it was one of her favorite places to hang out, and the house coffee was good and cheap. She and her friends had haunted it pretty regularly when she still lived on that side of town.
But it was the first time she’d been since she’d moved.
Could these… faeries… that still felt weird. Could these people be using her connection to Myles to hurt him? He was important, she knew that… Why did she keep coming back to that? She didn’t give a damn how important he was. She tried actively not to think of him whenever she could avoid it – but there was just so much to figure out. She couldn’t get her head around it all. She wanted to text Zig and see what he thought of everything – but he was one of them, wasn’t he? Would he lie to her?
But Asha had said fey can’t lie. [DOUBLE CHECK THAT!]
But was she telling the truth?
Brooke flopped back against the bed with an exasperated sigh. There was just no way to know. But, in that case, it couldn’t hurt to hear what he had to say, could it? As long as she kept in mind that he might be a lying, every word meant to manipulate her –
She could do that with everyone.
God, that sounded exhausting. But she really had no way of knowing, and no one she felt she could really trust. So she’d just hear everyone out, and decide what to do with everything when she’d gathered enough information.
She slide her phone open, pulled up a text, and stared at it.
What exactly did she want to ask?
There were so many questions racing through her mind, she didn’t know where to start. She set her phone back down and moved to her desk, firing up her laptop. She felt sluggish and ill when she moved, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been. Still, she had to active fight the urge to lay down and just sleep. As she waiting for everything to come on, she starting trying to think about what to put on her list.
-What happened today?
-Will it happen again?
-What do I need watch out for?
And the question she most wanted to know, but was most afraid to ask: What am I?
She decided that one would probably merit the most useful information, so once she’d typed everything out, she went back to her phone and sent a text to Zig.
1:06 828 words
She stared at her phone a minute, willing the answer to just appear on the screen. But that was silly. It wasn’t like he was sitting by his phone, just waiting to answer her. She deliberately set it down and turned to look back over her list, to fill in any information she could, but her phone buzzed almost as soon she had. Ok, so maybe he was just sitting around waiting to answer her. Whatever.
Witch or Fey? Simple enough. She knew what both of those were – or at least, had had encounters with both, supposedly- This was too crazy. She was not sitting here, calmly trying to figure out if she was fey or a witch. Her fingers flexed around her phone, squeezing as she tried to fixate on the absurdity of it all, to will herself into a state of disbelief.
On the edge of her desk, the little candle flame flared to life.
She spun to face it, watching the flame double, no triple in height, burning just as straight and steady. She’d completely forgotten she’d lit it the other night.
The wax hadn’t melted at all.
None of the candle had been consumed. Wax, wick, nothing. The flame shrunk under her scrutiny, almost as if it was embarrassed. Brooke’s eyes widened and she shook her head, unable to process it.
Her phone buzzed in her hand again and she nearly fell out of her chair in surprise.
You’re Rain. That’s what matters.
She blinked back tears, affection and memory swelling her throat. She was already fond of Zig, and even Tripp, for showing her the rain within. That feeling had been real. It had been hers. That, she knew she could trust. She didn’t even know how- that, more than anything else she’d felt that day, had seemed the most like a hallucination- but she just felt it as purely as she’d felt the rain and wind on her skin. She was Rain, and nothing could take that from her. Whatever was going on, she’d sort it out, she’d find her way, and it would all be ok.
The little flame popped and chirpped, and Rain had to resist the urge to reach out and pet it. It was still fire, after all, it would burn.
But it wasn’t burning the candle.
Oh what the hell, she thought, and reached out to stroke the flame.
It rose around her finger, crackling merrily. The flame engulfed her finger, flickering, and it tickled. Rain giggled, more than a little hysterically, and stared at her hand. She was stroking a candle flame, and it was tickling her. What. The. Hell.
She shook her head and blinked, pulling her hand back. At the last moment, the fire burned, and it hurt. God it fucking hurt! She jumped back with a yelp, popping her finger in her mouth to nurse the burn.
Her finger was icy cold to the touch.
She jerked her finger from her mouth, startling so violently that her chair fell over. The dull thud rocked through her system, leaving her curled on her side in a wave of nausea. She heard her mother call out, and she did her best to keep her voice level when she answered “I’m fine.” She’d even managed to stand again before the knock sounded on her door.
She sighed and braced herself for the conversation to come. She knew she couldn’t avoid it forever, and she may as well deal with it while she still looked pathetic enough to beg off to sleep when she’d had enough.
“Come in,” she called, after closing the lid on her laptop. No need to leave her list laying around for anyone to see.
Myles opened the door, and Rain had to fight the urge to yell at him to get out. He did hesitate in the doorway, waiting for her to acknowledge him. She gestured to the chair was leaning on, moving to sit on the end of her bed instead.
“You ok, Brooky? We heard a crash.”
She gritted her teeth at the use of his stupid nick name for her. Brooky- what the fuck was a Brooky? It just sounded dumb. Her name was a real word, you didn’t call Rose Rosey, did you? Oh, well ok, you did, but still. It grated at her, but to tell him not to would be to say more words to him than she ever wanted to.
He nodded, and settled into the chair she’d begrudgingly offered. “I figured you’d say something like that. Typically teenage dodging.” He said affectionately, with that air of I remember being your age. She didn’t buy it for a second. She wasn’t going to volunteer anything. She wondered why hell he’d come instead of her mother. She never said two words to him when she could avoid it, why would she start now? And then, as if reading her thoughts, he answered.
“Your mom wanted to check on you, but there are just some things it’d hard to talk to a parent about. I thought this might be easier on you, since you don’t seem to really care what I think. Which is cool,” he added, and the word sounded so wrong coming from him. But wrong in that typical dad way. Rain bristled, pulling her storm around herself.
He made a show of drawing a deep breath and looking vaguely uncomfortable. She didn’t buy it.
I know all this has been really hard on you, and your at that age where you’re going through a bunch of changes.” He held his hands up, in the classic I am unarmed pose. “I’m not gonna give ya “the talk”, no worries. I understand I’m not really your dad. You have your mother for all that and I know she loves you dearly and you two have a bond I’d never dream of intruding on.”
She fought not to roll her eyes or tell him to get to the point.
“The point is,” Creepy, again. “there are things you mother doesn’t know about, and can’t know about, because she’s not like us.” He sighed, dropping his arms to his knees and leaning in on them. He stared at a point on the floor between them, careful to give her her space.
“I had hoped to have spent more time with you before having to have this conversation, had hoped we might be friends before I had to break this all to you. I took a risk, and that risk nearly took your from us. I’m sorry for that.”
Here he did raise his gaze to her, letting her see the earnestness in his face. She watched him with a neutral expression. It was the best she could do.
“I know you have no reason to trust me, and everything today has probably rocked all that even further, but I just want you to know that I’m here for you, Brooky. When your mother introduced us, I knew you were special, had magic, like me, and that you’d need someone to guide you when it finally manifested.” He stopped, knowing he was getting clinical. “Just know that what you’re going through is perfectly normal, for people like us.” He reached out as if he were going to pat her leg, then stopped, and pushed himself up out of the chair instead. “I don’t want to overwhelm you right now, but whenever you’re ready, please come to me with any questions. I’m not going to tell you to stay away from your friends, or anything so foolish as that, but I hope you believe me when I say I have your best interests at heart. I can’t say the same for them.”
He moved to the doorway, turning before he left. “Just promise me you’ll try not to worry your mother too much? I can only protect her from her own mind up to a point. The less you give her to worry about, the better it’ll be for her.”
And then he left, closing the door behind him.
2:31 p 1370 words
Zig was left staring at his phone, torn. On the one hand, if she wasn’t answering, it might be because she was sleeping, or something. But on the other, she might be freaked or crying again, or who knew what, and he didn’t want to leave her stressing for no reason. But if she wasn’t answering, it was for a reason, whatever it might be, so he let it go. She’d text him again if she wanted to, and he’d give her the space to figure stuff out on her own time.
He’d wandered back downstairs after talking with Meliki, moving aimlessly about the Underground. Something about losing the kid unsettled him, he felt like they’d lost somehow. He didn’t even know why they were fighting, but it just sat with him wrong. He’d been ecstatic when she’d texted him, having forgotten to swipe her number when he had her phone, but in retrospect that might have freaked her, but whatever. He just wanted to make sure she didn’t get left behind. He was totally prepared to comb the witch hills for her if need be, for all that it would be pretty much fruitless. But that was Zig. Rush headlong into a stupid plan, fail, come back, accept Tripp’s well thought out plan without question. It worked for them.
2:52p 220 words 12 mins
Rain didn’t trust it. She stared at the back of the door where Myles had been standing, dissecting their “conversation” over and over. She’d told herself to keep an open mind, to gather information where she could, but he was just so… fake. It was too good an act. He should be furious, or at least a little disappointed. He’d tried too hard to convince her he was on her side. Hell, he didn’t even ask her where she’d gone! Or why. She didn’t think he was dumb enough to believe anything she told him, but at least a little parental grilling had been in order, she thought. Her mom would have been furious, ranting and raving about how dangerous everything is and how she might have gotten hurt and then she’d have scooped her up in a hug and cried at her and Rain would have felt bad – not that that would be the point, but it was effective anyways. That had been the basis of their relationship for a long time. Rain behaved so her mother wouldn’t have to worry about her anymore than she already did.
Now her mom just worried about how her hair looked, or if her shoes were too dressy for the occasion. Marrying Myles had sucked everything real out of her, and all over again, Rain was pissed.
The flickering of her pet candle caught her attention again, and she moved back to study it. It was burning tall again, but mellowed out when she sat down to study it. Weird. She reached out to pet it again, being more timid this time. The flame jumped out to meet her halfway, wrapping around her finger. Seriously weird, but kinda cool. She swirled her finger around a little bit, smiling when it crackled at her again. Then a thought struck her, and she moved to draw her hand back again. This time, however, she addressed the flame before removing her finger.
“I’ll pet you again, but I need both my hands for a minute, ok?”
The flame settled back onto its wick, giving a little pop. Rain shook her head, but it honestly wasn’t any weirder than anything else that had happened today.
She picked up her phone again and shot another text to Zig.
Know anything about dancing flames?
Ok, that one was waaaay left field. He’d been tossing around in his head what he would say to her when she answered back, ready with all sort of information about fey, less about witches, and most of that negative, but the dancing flames caught him completely off guard. He called across the hallway to Tripp, they were both putzing around in their studios, waiting for the business to come.
“Oi, bro – you know anything about dancing flames?”
“You mean like minor elementals? Ifrits and salamanders and things?”
Zig blinked, unsurprised his brother had an answer, but not really understanding a word of it.
“Uhhhh, yeah, I guess. What do they do, or whatever?”
Tripp laughed, low and deep. “Fiery things. You’ll have to ask something better than that.”
Well, ok then. At least he knew Tripp would have something useful to say if she had any questions, so he fired back, A little, yeah. What’s up?
7:16 pm 15 mins 552 words
I seem to have found myself a pet. She answered. What is it?
He didn’t bother saying anything to Tripp, just sent back, I need a little more to go off of than that. Where did you find it, what’s it doing? Anything more specific, so I can tell if its an ifrit or salamander or what. He was pleased with his answer, it made him sound smart, and it would keep Tripp from laughing at him for asking stupid questions again. Sometimes he wondered just which one of them was the older brother. He remembered Tripp as a little boy when they were growing up together, but hell, he’d always acted like an old man.
Rain perked up at his answer. Ifrit, it’s definitely an ifrit. It told me so when I found it. …wandering around in my head. Does that tell you anything about me, or it?
She felt really silly telling him about it, but if she wanted any answers, she’d have to give him something to go off of, and for all that he seemed to be a goofball, she didn’t think he’d make fun of her. He’d seemed to …caring for that.
She stopped herself before she started forming a biased opinion of him. It wasn’t fair that she hated Myles for disrupting her life, she shouldn’t give Zig and they fair any unfair advantage either.
But she shouldn’t ignore her instincts, should she?
Gah, this was all too confusing. She went back to poking at her ifrit, which was happily dodging her playful pokes. At least, she thought that’s what the crackling meant. It kinda reminded her of a cat’s purr.
Rain was staring at the biggest wolf she’d ever seen in her life. True, she’d never actually seen a wolf at any point in her life, but even if she had, this guy would dwarf them all. “Frost” was shaggy white wolf the size of a Clydesdale, maybe bigger. It was hard to compare, because Frost wasn’t just tall, he was thick. Thick with muscle, thick with fur, and thick with a fog that seemed to surround him. Like your breath on a cold winter’s morning, the air puffed around him in little crystals, shimmering in the moonlight.
Rook said nothing as Rain continued to stare, and Frost continued to stand still and stoic as always.
You could show her your true form, he thought idly, knowing Frost would hear him if he cared to.
So could you.
Rook elected to ignore Frost’s echo back, making a show of studying a potted violet on the table next to him.
Frost growled, a low, rumbling sound that vibrated through Rain’s whole body. She stepped forward, compelled to touch him. Her hands sunk into his plush first, tiny crystals of ice biting into her hand. Beyond that, the fur was soft, but still cool, the like other side of the pillow. She couldn’t push in far enough to feel his skin, but did brush her hand back and forth, hypnotized by the feel of him.
8:16p 10min 237 words and then grandma called
“So, what am I?”
Rook knew she was going to ask that question eventually, but he still didn’t really have an answer.
“Don’t give me that- I can see it in your face you’re about to tell me you don’t know, but you have to!” She got quiet. “You the only one that can…”
He hated to see her hopes crushed like that, but he really, honestly didn’t know. He blew out a long puff of air, the moved to put his hand on her shoulder.
“If it helps,” he said softly, “I don’t really know what I am either…”
She turned to him, big gray eyes shining with unshed tears.
He wrapped his arms around her and held her.
“So… what? I just, picture a wall?”
Zig nodded, and shifted around a bit until he was more comfortable on the pillow. Rain gave him a flat look.
“A wall. Just, a wall.”
He sighed, and got up and went back to the closet. “You’re not gonna make this easy on me, are you?”
She gave him a taken aback look. “How is this my fault? You’re the one that can’t describe this any better.”
“That’s because you’re the only one that can describe it for you. My wall looks like some big, hulking, medieval castle. Delphi’s looks like lego blocks. I don’t know what says “wall” to you.”
Rain blinked, staring at his back as he rummaged through the closet. “Seriously? Legos?”
“Mhmm,” he said, not turning around. “Think about it – when would she have seen a castle yet? She knows Legos. They’re real to her. Castles aren’t.”
She considered it for a moment, then found the hole in his logic. “What a minute, wait a minute – so you’re saying castles are “real” to you?”
“Sure,” he answered, pulling out a Nerf gun. “Haven’t you ever read Lord of the Rings? Or Harry Potter?”
“Well yeah,” she said, eying the dart gun dubiously, “but those aren’t-” “Real?” he said, cutting her off. “Of course they are. They’re as real as Buckingham palace, or anything else you’ve ever read out of a textbook.”
“How can you say that? Hogwarts does not exis-”
“They had to film the movie somewhere, didn’t they?”
That shut her up.
“You’ve “seen” the inside of Hogwarts castle. You know Harry’s bedroom in it better than you do the Queen’s, I’d wager.”She nodded, eyes wide. He continued. “So in a sense, Hogwarts is more real than Buckingham Palace – at least as far as the picture of it in your mind is concerned.”
She nodded, things starting to click into place.
“Ok. So, a wall.”
“You said that already.”
“I know!” she said petulantly? “But it’s hard- OW!”
Rain jumped where a pellet from Zig’s gun hit her arm.
…only, he hadn’t raised the gun yet.
“What the hell?” she said, rubbing her arm.
“I thought a bullet at you. I’m going to do it again, and again, until you figure out how to put up a wall. Then I’m going to keep doing it, but you won’t care, cause you’ll be safe behind your wall.”
He leveled the gun at her, taking up a badass gunslinger’s pose.
“Bang,” he said, throwing another dart of pain her way. She yelped and snatched at the pillow he’d been sitting on, holding it up in front of her like a shield.
“That’s not gonna do it, kiddo.” He “shot” her again, not bothering with the gun since she wasn’t watching anyways. He shook his head when she yelped again, but stayed behind the pillow. “You can’t hide behind a physical object, it’s not a physical assault.” He pegged her again, this time aiming for her back – an impossible angle if he were literally shooting from in front of her.
“Hey! No fair!” she yelled, chucking the pillow at him. He threw up his own shield and watched as the cushion bounced harmlessly off of it.
“What!?” Rain said, eyes wide. “How did you do that? That pillow is totally real!”
“Yup,” he said, tucking the gun over his shoulder. “That’s how magic works though, kiddo. Magic can act on reality, reality can act on magic, but there are rules to all of it. I couldn’t have done that outside of the sithen- I don’t have the magic to affect things in reality. But in here, we’re surrounded by magic, and all I did was direct it into a certain shape – the shape of a wall. If Tripp were to walk in here right now, he’d see a big, hulking, medieval castle – I think. He’d see something, at any rate, cause that’s how he works.”
“But this isn’t about Tripp,” he said, leveling the gun at her again with a grin. “This is about teaching you how to defend yourself.” He dropped the wall he had been holding, prepping a spray of mind bullets.
10:07 pm 867 words 30 mins
Rain couldn’t believe it. She didn’t know what was worst – that she was accusing Rain of sneaking out to meet her boyfriend, that she thought Zig was her boyfriend, or that she was calling her daughter out on it in front of the she thought she was dating.
Zig stood back from it all, covering his grin with his hand. He could see where Rain’s mom would freak. Here is this obviously college age bad ass with piercing and tattoos in a leather jacket, come to whisk her baby away on a motorcycle. Funny how he never had this problem on the Vespa.
“We’ll set you up a room here the bar when you turn 18, ok?”
Rain’s shoulders slumped, but she knew the reason why. It was bad enough he let her in here underage, but she knew that wasn’t what he was worried about. This place was a Haven, a location that was human free, or at least, a place where you knew it was safe to reveal any supernatural traits around any of the humans that may or may not be present. Any authorities that came to this place only did so because Rook allowed them to find it, and he would only allow Haven friendlies to do so.
No, the real problem was her step-dad. Anyone that tried to “hold her” against her will, read against his will, would have child services and a witch friendly judge down their necks in an instant. He couldn’t stop her from going wherever she was welcome, but he did have the power to enforce a curfew, and make trouble for anyone who helped her break it.
She sighed and pushed herself away from the table she’d been sitting at.
“I know its hard on you,” she said, startling Rook into muttering, “That’s my line,” but he didn’t cut her off.
“I know you want me here with you, where you can know that I’ll be safe, but we both know that’s not an option right now.” She stood up and began to pace, moving closer to Rook without realizing it.
“We just have to lay low, try not to piss my step-dad off, and pray that Morgana doesn’t notice that we’re together again until we have a chance to send me to other side to get a handle on my powers. Or that [insert mundane baddy’s name here] and his cronies can’t get a lock on me again. Or that some crazy ass demon or whatever doesn’t push me out of my head and take over my death magic wielding body.”
“Gee, that should be a piece of cake,” Rook said sardonically.
She turned to him and gave him a soft smile. She crossed the distance between them, moving to give him a hug. “It’ll be ok, anam cara [double check]. I promise. You’ve found me, and I won’t be parted from you again.”
He smiled and closed his eyes, enjoying the rightness of their embrace. There were days he wished he could just take her inside him again, and keep her safe for always.
10:40 pm 13 mins 528 words