My last good day of writing before the vacation. I took a night off before the drive, to push as far as I could, but my mindset was already on my vacation. I was able to write scenes I’d already established, but everything after this was just a scramble.
Zig walked straight back from the bottom of the stairs, opening a door near the far side of the room. It led into a hallway, with four doors, clustered together in pairs at either end. Zig went to the second of the closest two and knocked.
“’Ey bro, ya in there?”
It wasn’t really like Tripp to have the door shut, unless he didn’t want to be bothered, but it was worth a shot. When there was no answer coming, Zig moved back toward Rain and opened the door at the very of the hall. It didnt’ look like it should go anywhere, but Rain wasn’t going to question it.
Sure enough, when Zig opened it, there was a green house space on the other side, complete with rain pattering against the glass. Completely impossible, and completely there. Zig poked his head in and called out “Tripp?” The only answer was the sound of the rain.
“Alright then,” Zig said, closing the door. “Another one.”
He opened the door again, and this time the room was full of books. Floor to ceiling shelves, with ladders and everything. This room was obviously empty, unless Tripp were invisible, or camouflaged to match the couches.
“Nope. Lemme try again.”
Another room, with exercise equipment and floor mats, empty. An artist’s studio, with canvases scattered everywhere, also empty. A room that looked ready to host a LAN party, not empty, but Seven said he hadn’t seen Tripp, so Zig closed the door with a sigh and leaned up against the wall.
“I give up. Tripp has clearly died,” he said dramatically, rolling his head heavenward and closing his eyes.
“Be sure to serve those little pina empanadas I like at my wake, bro.”
Rain startled as Tripp appeared from the other end of the hallway, mug in hand. Zig’s eyes flew open and he stared for a moment. “Dude! Where the fuck where you? I looked all over!”
“Did you try the kitchen?” he asked calmly, taking a sip of his drink.
Zig scowled, then gestured to Rain. “You remember Rainy day?”
Tripp nodded. “Sure do. How ya doin’ kid?”
Rain opened her mouth to answer, but all that came out was hysterical laughter. At both brothers’ questioning looks, she got herself calmed down enough to answer. “I’m sorry. There’s just something damned funny about him trying that door to all those impossible places, and you were in the kitchen in a pair of sweatpants, making tea. It’s just-” She bit her lip to keep from losing it again. “Tell me the kettle whistles?” she asked, eyes shiny with tears.
It was Zig who answered, somewhat indignantly. “Of course it does! What kind of heathens do you take us for?”
And then Rain was gone.
Once they’d moved out of the hallway back into the kitchen, Zig put the kettle back on and Tripp pulled out a chair for Rain at the kitchen table.
“So, you’re here to suss out your magical instincts?” Tripp asked conversationally, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
“Umm… yeah. I guess so.”
Tripp nodded and stared at the space between her eyes. “Try to ignore me, if you can, and just think about your magic, ok?”
Rain nodded and stared back at him, wondering how she could forget him while talking to him.
“What kinda tea you want kiddo?” Zig called from across the kitchen.
“Do you have any green?” she asked, turning her attention to him instead of Tripp. Zig had hoped she would, but he knew he couldn’t be obvious about it.
“Yup. Green plain, Green with Citrus, Green with Pom and Green with honey- which I don’t know why we even bought, because I have a perfectly good honey pot right here on the counter.”
“Citrus please,” she said, grinning at his put out expression.
“Can do. Room for anything?”
“Does it feel like a push or a pull?”
“Bubbling up kinda push or expanding.”
“Any other impressions?”
“You got that Tripp?”
Rain realized finally that half those questions didn’t have a damned thing to with tea, but she’d answered them without thinking. Tripp leaned back in his chair and sipped at his tea, and Zig brought their mugs over.
“Give it a sec, it’s still steeping. I’ll grab the honey.”
Rain shook her head and blinked, trying to wipe the foggy feeling from her brain. Tripp smiled and patted her hand.
“No worries kid, you were just Zig rolled – the man is a master of distractions and procrastinations.”
Zig popped his head back out of the fridge, where he’d been shuffling to pull out the milk. “Neva gonna give you up/Neva gonna let you down-”
Tripp rolled his eyes and continued talking while Zig went for the honey and danced his way to the table. “It looks like everything you do is pure instinct, and pretty much beyond your control. You have shit for shields – no offense- but I think you’d flare if ever actually threatened, so I don’t think you’d have much need for shielding. So long as you don’t mind decimating everything in your path.” He delivered the new placidly, taking another sip of tea.
“Ooooo give you up!” Zig sang cheerfully as he set everything on the table. “Tea’s prolly done.”
Rain took out her tea bag, then leaned back and closed her eyes. “You guys are so overwhelming.”
“Thanks,” Zig said brightly.
She shook her head and returned to the conversation. “Sooo, I’m very much not okay with blasting everyone in my path. What do we do about that.”
“Teach you to shield,” Tripp said, while Zig doctored his tea. Rain grabbed the honey spoon and did the same. Tea would give her something to do while her mind processed.
“And I learn that how?” she asked, when no answer was forth coming.
“I’d recommend Zig for that one.”
“Huh?” Zig said, coming up from his tea. “What am I good for?”
“That, dear brother, is an excellent question.”
“Hey!” He flicked his tea spoon at Tripp, who just laughed. “I was telling Rain you’d probably be best to teach her shielding, ya space case.”
“Really? You’re the one that sees all the craziness all the ti- Oh, right. You never even try to filter it out. Gotcha.” He got up to put the milk away, grabbing the grocery list note pad off the fridge on his way back. “Ok, so I’ve got shielding 101,” he said as he wrote. “What’s next?”
“Hmmm…” Tripp sipped at his tea while he thought. “I guess directing would come next, but she really needs to know how to protect herself from her own magic first…. Maybe Sensing? Teach her to know when magic’s being used against her or whatever?” Zig nodded scribbling, and Tripp leaned back in his chair, eyes going to the ceiling. “I can handle that one, I think. …I dunno, what else…”
Rain sipped at her tea while they carried on as if she wasn’t even there, because she really didn’t have much to add. Neither one of them really seemed able to answer any of her questions, and Meliki was busy doing …whatever it was she was doing. Questions would just have to wait. Practical lessons seemed more important at this very moment anyhow. Especially the “keep people out” and the “how can I tell if someone is messing with me” lessons.
Tripp finally leaned forward and met Rain’s eyes. “Is there anything you want us to teach you, Rain?”
Rain froze, on the spot. “Uh….”
Tripp nodded, still smiling. “That’s hardly surprising. You’re still at the “I don’t know what I don’t know” phase, right?”
Rain nodded, feeling better since somebody else “got it”.
“No worries, kiddo,” Zig cut in. “We’ve all been there. Just ask us things as they come up and we’ll keep going from there, ok?”
“Ok.” Rain smiled and went back to her tea.
Tripp had finished his and moved to take his mug to the sink. “Give her my number too, bro, ok? You know I more about everything than you.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said, waving his hand. “We know. Showoff,” he muttered, but his grin remained.
“Imma go change and hit the first of the rush, mmk? You work with Rain and I’ll send someone down if we need ya. ‘Sonly Monday, we should be fine for a bit.”
Zig nodded and finished making some notes on his grocery list page.
Tripp stopped and gripped Rain’s shoulder on his way out. “Don’t sweat it too much kiddo, ok? Magic is one of those things that’s hard to do when you stress about it. Just let it happen, and if it doesn’t come today, or the next day, it will come eventually, as long as you keep trying. Just relax and let it be.” He smiled at her, and she smiled back, and then he was gone and it was just her and Zig.
“Whenever you’re ready, babe,” he said without looking up, bringing the mug to his lips and dribbling down his chin. “Awww damnit! My list…”
Rain stiffled her laugh with her own mug.
1:11pm 1624 41 mnins