Aaaand I just realized I posted my weekly writing goals a day early. No wonder last week seemed so short! 😛
As a sort of bonus post script, may I present to you: Rook’s bed
She came to in a soft, warm bed, and for a minute she thought she was just now waking up for the day. But when she reached over for her nightstand to see what time it was, all she found was more bed. And more bed. When she opened her eyes, she saw that she was in the middle of an impossibly huge bed, like the size of a normal kid’s whole bedroom. What the fuck?
“Ah, good. You’re awake.”
The voice slid through both the air and her mind, carrying with it the reinforcement that she was safe, that nothing would harm her, and that she was back with Rook where she belonged.
A quiet place in her soul flared to life, and she believed it.
She was home.
Then her rational brain kicked in and she railed against it, against all of it. Against the voice, against the answering voice within herself, against all the spells people kept throwing at her, against the enormous bedspread she was trapped underneath. She struggled to uncover herself, to get out of this stranger’s bed and room and house, but the more she pulled, the more blanket there seemed to be. Her arms grew heavy with the effort and her heart beat against her chest, a panicked bird dashing against a window. She flailed, tangling herself in the comforter further and she screamed, ending in a half-mad sob.
“Relax, Rain, just scoot yourself up. Believe me, it’s much easier that way.”
Again, the voice was accompanied by soothing thoughts, and an agreement inside her about how rational what he was saying was. How could she keep people out of her mind? This manipulation shit was getting old. She didn’t give in to the illusion of comfort, but she did use his advice to free herself from the blanket. Not feeling quite so trapped, she pulled her knees up to her chest and leaned against the headboard. Her head pounded and her arms felt useless from their fight against the blanket, but at least now she could see up and look around.
The room was dark, and large enough she couldn’t see the walls in the dim light. Far to her right was a simple nightstand, with a mate to her left. More importantly, that wall held a door.
“Where am I?”
Rook sighed softly to himself and moved out of the shadows he’d been watching her from. Always with the “where am I?” first, he thought bitterly Never any “Oh thank you! You found me! I’ve missed you, Rook, where have you been, Rook? Why were we parted, Rook?” Oh no, none of that. Ah well. Hopefully, this would be the last time he’d have to do this. He moved to stand at the foot of the bed, resisting the urge to fix the mussed bedclothes. She’d completely ruined them in her dramatic awakening scene.
“You’re in my bed, in my room, in my bar, which is named after me. I’m Rook. But you knew this.”
She just blinked at him, and he sighed grandly and sat on the edge of the bed, which still left them several feet apart from each other.
“You’re in the same town you grew up in, not too far from where you used to live, before he spirited you away to the witch end of town. Even I’m impressed with how close I got it this time.” He stopped himself, with a cutting off motion of his hand. “Irrelevant. Hopefully that won’t be an issue ever again. Here, let me get back on track. I’ve done this enough times, I should be better at it by now, but I never seem to be able to remember what I say from century to century. Ah well.”
Her eyes just widened and she hugged her knees closer to herself. This guy was nuts.
“Yes, Rain, he is nuts, but no, he’s not wrong. You’ll get used to him riffling through your thoughts. Here, have some water.”
Jon had felt Rain wake, or rather, had felt Rook’s pleasure that she’d awoken, and had come up to save her from his overly dramatic little boss. He leaned onto the obscenely large bed, cursing it mentally for the umpteenth time, and passed the girl a glass of water.
Rain took it and drained it quickly, grateful as always for Jon. He had always been the more sensible of the two, the one to remember her needs as a mortal. Rain reeled, blindsided by thoughts that were her own, but not. She was having double vision, but of the mind. Two sets of thoughts ran parallel to each other, confusion and relief, questions and the answers to them from the many times they’d done this before. Unlike the thoughts inserted by spells, both voices felt equally to be her own. She focused on the water glass, not knowing where to turn her attention now. Two very strange men that somehow felt familiar, one that was a rambly psycho, one that could bench press her easy, both able to read her mind. She was so fucked, and yet so completely unconcerned about it.
“Oh please,” Rook said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “You’re not near as fucked as most who have been in this bed, and Jon can’t read your mind, he just knows me that well. Well, now he can read your emotional state, but only because that water was infused with some of his power herb-”
“Rook,” Jon interrupted, “shut the fuck up for a minute. I know you love to hear yourself talk but have you ever thought about what this is like from her perspectives?” He took advantage of Rook’s stunned silence to fill the girl in.
“Look, bullet points of pressing concerns, so you can rest easier.” He raised a hand and ticked things off on his fingers. “One: You’re free to go at any time, no one is gonna keep you here against you will. Two: We understand your magic and can help you with it more than anyone else can, because it’s tied to ours. So you’re safer here with us than anywhere else you could possibly be. But again, we aren’t gonna keep you here.”
Rain gave him wide eyes, the rational part of her brain giving up. This week had been just too damned much. People were reading her mind willy-nilly, manipulating her emotions, casting spells and giving her magic water left and right. She kept waking up in strange places with strange faces standing over her, and everyone was just acting like this was the most natural thing in the world. Myles was the only person who seemed to think her randomly being abducted by crazy people was unacceptable behavior. Never mind that they all promised to let her go- why were they taking her in the first place? All this magic crap was bullshit. Myles was the only one playing by rules she understood, human rules. She should walk out on these weirdos right now, but she didn’t quite believe it when the big black bouncer man said she could go, no matter how kind he seemed.
The quiet, peaceful voice in her head kept telling her that everything was alright, that Jon had always taken care of her, and that Rook would always keep her safe. That everything was ok now, that nothing bad could happen to her, now that Rook had found her again. They were together, and all was right with the world. It was getting harder to fight, and she found her eyes flicking to where Rook sat further down on the bed. Jon held three fingers up in front of her face to bring her attention back to him.
“Three: The how’s and why’s of this is a really long story. We won’t keep it from you, but for right now it’s not the most important factor.”
He turned slightly to include Rook in his next comment. In fact, it seemed almost more directed at him than her. “We can’t just scoop you out of the life you’re living and tuck you away somewhere and take all the time to explain – we’ve tried that before, it doesn’t work.”
Rook snorted, but otherwise remained cross-armed and pouty on the edge of the bed. If that was how he wanted to be, Jon was content to ignore him. They were running out of time anyways. The girl’s own magic was bespelling her on Rook, and Jon was losing the battle to keep her focused on his own words. He turned back to Rain, dark eyes locking with hers, will pressing down on the herbs within her, to help her clear her head.
“Four, and this one is most important – the less your step-dad knows about us, the safer we can keep you. We need to get you home, and fast, before he goes on the war path through low town again and burns Meliki’s to the ground looking for you. I’ve already called Zig, he’s on his way to come get you, and he’ll take you back to your house so there’s less connection to us for your step-dad to trace, ok?”
He paused, trying not to stare at her too expectantly while he let all that sink in.
Damnit, Jon, you ruin all my fun, Rook shot at him, sulkily.
Just doing my job, boss man. You’ll thank me for it later.
Rook rolled his eyes and stood, moving back to his shadows.
Rain’s eyes locked on him, following Rook’s motions like a flower follows the sun. Jon sighed and pushed a little more energy into his herbs.“Don’t mind Rook,” Jon said, putting a little mental command into the words. When she finally looked back to him, he continued. “He’s just got more invested in this than I do. That’s why he can’t seem to remember how to explain everything gently, key details first. He gets kind of overexcited.” A humph came from the shadows, and Jon smiled. He did enjoy being able to rain on Rook’s parade. Just a little bit. All the better that he was actually getting things done, so Rook couldn’t bitch about it.
Not that it would actually stop him.
But Jon was used to that.
But first, they had to get her home. Jon pulled her attention to him again, reinforcing the idea that he was giving her instructions that she shouldn’t forget.
“Have Zig give you our cell numbers, and try to memorize at least one of them by heart. Rook should be able to hear you call mentally, if you’re ever in trouble, but better to have more than one means of calling a friend, ya know?”
Rain nodded slowly, eyes wide and glassy. This was overwhelming, but again, her brain was adjusting as quickly as it could to the new normal. You could only stay on high alert overdrive for so long. The sweet voice of calm acceptance in her head seemed so reasonable, urged her to relax, to accept that Rook and Jon would keep her safe, so it was ok to just let it go and trust that they would take care of her.
“Her ride’s here,” Rook said softly from the shadows. Jon nodded and reached out a hand to Rain to help her get out of the huge bed. Why had he given in to Rook’s theatrics and let him put her in the middle of the monstrous thing? Just because it looked better… Jon shook himself from his mental grumblings and helped steady the girl on her feet.
“We’ll keep in touch, Rain. Just remember you’ve got lots of places to turn to now, ok? Don’t ever feel like you’re stuck relying on one source for anything.” He gave the shadows a pointed look, which did not respond. He rolled his eyes and walked Rain to the door, holding it open for her to pass though. He continued talking as he led her down the stairs and towards the front door of what was obviously a bar, like Rook had said. “This is your life and your choice, and we’re here to help you do what you want with it. Not everyone else can say that. Just remember,” he said, hand on the front door, “that we let you go, and we didn’t have to.” He opened the door held it for her, nodding to Zig idling outside. “Take care of yourself, kid. You can’t count on anyone else to do it for you.”