I’d written these scenes back in November, wondering where they’d go but not questioning it too much. As I drew to the end of the month, it became apparent I had one than book on my hands in Rain’s story. As I worked through April, some of the misfit scenes found a home, some did not. The following did not, but there’s always book 2, and maybe 3.
Rain stood shook still, not knowing what to do.
She’d gotten pretty used to being able to just wander down into the Underground and strike up a conversation with whoever was their while waiting for Zig.
She wasn’t prepared for the evil blonde bitch from hell.
How long had see been coming here and she’d never met this big ball of crazy? Cause it was clear she was crazy. Rain couldn’t say how she knew, but it just radiated off the girl in waves. They stood there and started at each other a moment, until a sick smile spread across the pale girl’s face.
Rain actually jumped a little bit, and the blonde girl laughed.
“What are you doing down here girlie? Nobody’s home…”
Zig came around the corner from under the archway then, stopping in his tracks. “Z, what are you doing out here?”
“I live here!” she shrieked, face transformed into a mask of hatred and rage. She turned on her heel, long, pale hair streaming behind her as she stormed from the room.
Rain hadn’t realized she’d been shaking until Zig came and put his arms around her.
“Hey kiddo, you ok?”
She nodded, a little too rapidly, and wrapped her arms around Zig’s waist for a hug.
“Hey, sorry about that. I didn’t know Z was awake yet, or I’d have texted you to wait for me upstairs. Zero can be a little …intimidating.”
Rain scoffed. “I don’t think that’s quite a strong enough word. What the hell is wrong with her?”
“That apparent?” Zig asked, already knowing the answer. He shook his head, leading them to the couch. It was a long story. It made him tired just thinking about it.
“The short version is that Jack, Zero and Seven were all involved in a pretty nasty fey mix up as kids. Z came out the worst for it, as you can see. I think it’s also part of why they’re all so pale, but that might just run in their family.”
“Wait- that crazy bitch is related to Jack?” Thinking back on it, she could see it, but at the time she’d been too deer in the headlights to notice much.
“Yup,” Zig said glibly, taking the “crazy bitch” comment in stride. It pretty much summed Z up perfectly. “They’re twins, actually, and Seven was their little brother – well, is actually, that hasn’t changed, but what happened to them was a long, long time ago, when Seven was just a little kid, about Delphi’s age. I think that’s why they get along so well,” he said after a moment’s pause. “It’s kinda like, he’s picking back up where he left off, ya know?”
Rain nodded and tried not to think too hard about what growing up with Z must have been like.
[Meeting Bei and Miel]
For reasons that don’t matter, Zig and Rain are at the coffee shop after dark. Maybe they just wanted tea, who knows?
Of the two girls behind the counter, one of them Rain recognized as one of the fey sisters. The other, a tall, thin, dark woman screamed Incan to her brain. She couldnt tell you what made her think “Incan” in particular, instead of just hispanic in general, but the moment she thought it, she knew it was true.
“Hey Bei, Miel.” Zig greeted each of the girls fondly, though only the sister had a warm smile for him in return. The Incan scoffed at him and turned to do something with her back to them.
“Aww, c’mon Honey, don’t be like that,” he said with grin.
“Damnit Zig, will you stop baiting my girlfriend?” She came around the counter to give him a hug, but only after punching him in the arm.
“Oh I get it,” Rain said suddenly. “Miel means honey, right?”
“Bingo, bingo, you win the prize,” Miel said flatly.
“Oh love, knock it off,” Bei said with a smile. “Honestly, you’re so cranky first thing in the morning.” She turned around and stuck her tongue out at her lover, smiling at all of them. “Hey, I didnt’ name this place the Early Bird for nothing.”
At Rain’s confused look, Zig elaborated. “Before Bei and her sisters set up shop here, the Bird used to only be open from dusk til dawn.” When she still didn’t get it, Zig said flatly, “Miel is a vampire, kiddo.”
Rain gave a little o of surprise.
“Oh, don’t get your panties in a bunch, I’m not gonna eat you.”
That, more than anything, put Rain on edge. Bei pursed her lips. “No fair taking advantage of reading her bio-signature, babe. Of course she’s freaked out, your probably the first vampire she’s ever met.”
Rain nodded and tried to become very, very small.
“Oh, don’t worry about Miel, cara,” Bei said, coming around to give Rain a hug. “She doesn’t even feed on humans.”
“And you don’t even like them,” Miel called back. “What are you being all touchy lovey with them for?”
“Jealous?” Zig asked, expression smug. Bei smacked him again. “Now, you behave! Just because I get caught up in the spirit of luau is no reason to get all big headed.” She leaned over the counter, crooning to her lover. “Miel here is my sweetheart, and no stinky, day walking boy can tempt me away from her, isn’t that right sweetie.”
Rain was utterly confused.
“Luau is a big metaphysical shin dig that Meliki hosts ever new of the moon. It’s to celebrated the lives we have and the love we can make and all the food we can eat while we walk this earth.”
“It’s about” Bei cut in, “honoring the dark lady that comes for us all, and recognizing our duties to live while we can, and embracing that we will die tomorrow, and that both halves are needed to the cycle to continue. If we all just ran around making babies and being born but never dying, where would we be?”
“Up to our armpits in babies,” Zig chimed in, though he did have the smarts to flinch away from Bei’s look.”
“There’ll be another luau shortly, the three days before the moon goes dark. On the last day, when the moon is completely dark, we have a big feast and celebrate life, but the days before that we honor the dead and spend time in quiet contemplations – which is why it’s something Zig knows nothing about. He couldn’t be quiet if you put a roll in his mouth.”
“Ugh, too true,” added Miel. “Next time we should try an apple and see if someone puts him in the roasting pit.”
“Heeey!” Zig protested, but the girls just laughed.
“Come to the feast,” Bei said, once she’d recovered herself. “Even their little Delphi goes, though we do put her to bed before engaging in the more …vigorous festivities.”
Rain didn’t want to know what she meant, but judging by her comments earlier, she figured she already knew.
Rain had gotten quite good at teaching her ifrit to jump from her candle flame to her mind and back to the candle. When they were practicing, she had to keep the thing properly lit, or else the ifrit would’t know where to jump back to, but he curled up in the warmth of her mind just fine. She wondered if she’d be strong enough to hold them both in her head long enough to take him to meet Rinna. Surely someday.
“Maybe if I give you a name,” the mused out loud. The little flame crackled and popped, flickering merrily at her.
“Alright, alright, you want a name? Why don’t you come over here and whisper to me what it is then?”
The ifrit jumped immediately to her mind, filling it with one single word: ASHLEY
“Ashely?” she said, making a face. “But that’s a girl’s name – I’ve been calling you a he this whole time, don’t tell me I’ve been wrong.”
Ashley refused to do anything but push her his name over and over and over again, so Ashley it was.
“But don’t expect me to go thinking of you as anything but a boy!”
The flame chirpped and popped then settled down happily to burn low on the wick.
[Scene after the end of book 1]
“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 [LBB] 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.
[Random one off, no chronology set]
The little girl sitting the living room coudln’t be more than 13, but looked more like she must be 9 or 10. Hell, maybe even 7. It was hard to tell, and every time Rain looked at her she looked different. Older, younger, something… Maybe it was the way the shadows flickered on her face from the tv.
“You wanna play racing with me?” She held out her controller, all big eyes and earnest.
“Sure,” Rain said, taking the controller and plopping down to sit cross-legged next to the girl. She picked up her skirts and crawled over to the console, picking up the second controller. She turned to look at Rain over her shoulder and asked, “You ever play Crash Team Racing before?”
Rain shook her head, sure that she had at some point but unable to really remember it. The little girl unplugged their controllers, switching them so that Rain would be player 2. Then she crawled back to her space, rearranging her many skits and settling back in on her pillow.
There was something surreal about this little china doll, sitting alone in the mostly dark living room, playing on the PlayStation. She was dressed like something out of a horror anime, all ruffles and ribbons, Lolita like. The massive dark circles under her eyes didn’t help.
But she scrolled through the menu like any young kid would, and soon She and Rain were playing together, laughing and carrying on about this or that computer player cheating or how hard this particular course was.
Seven came in from the back hallway and stood and watched them for a moment. So this was the new girl. Well, she seemed fair enough at racing games, and Del was getting along with her well, so she was alright in Seven’s book.
He moved further into the room, making a point of making some noise when he moved so as not to startle the girls. Delphi looked up and waved, then yelped a little when her car went off course.
“Hey Delphi,” he said, waving back, though she wasn’t looking anymore. “I see you couldn’t wait til I finished the site maintenance to find someone to play with.” He smiled when Rain turned to look at him, realizing he was someone she didn’t know.
“Hey new girl. They call me Seven.”
He nodded and moved to go sit on the couch behind them. “I’ll play winner, if that’s ok with you two.”
“We can play Crash Bash- or Mario Party! Pleeeease, can we play Mario Party?”
It took Rain a minute to realize the little girl, Delphi, was talking to her. She’d been caught up in staring at the Jack clone. Same creepy white blonde hair, same super skeletal features – though this Seven kid was a bit more fleshed out, not quite as thin. Not as tall either, which made it seem even more like someone had just taken Jack and stretched him out while he was still soft.
But Delphi was asking her a question and she tore her gaze away and blinked a bit. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Mario Party,” she repeated, bouncing a bit on her seat. “I asked if we could play Mario Party.”
“Yay!” she squealed, leaping up to grab the remote off the tv stand. She fiddled with the inputs a bit until she found the one she wanted, then put the remote back and turned on the Wii. While it was waking up, she took three remotes out of the basket under the television and passed them out to everybody. She settled in on the couch next to Seven, who patted her leg affectionately before moving his arm to the back of the couch.
“You’ll want to sit further back than that Miss Rain,” Delphi informed her. “The sensor won’t be able to read you that close.”
“Oh, ok.” She got up and took the far end of the couch next to them, simply accepting that this was a thing. Spiders came out of the woodworks and played video games. Whatever.
[After all the Spiders are met, for sure]
“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.