I seem to be putting my MC through hell this time around. Might explain why I’m so reluctant to sit down and write. I’m wary of the idea that if I don’t want to write it, no one else will want to read it, but I recently watched Catching Fire and remembered that sometimes, people LOVE to watch other people suffer, so…
*shrugs* We’ll see.
NaNo day 8
There was something positively comical about coming into the kitchen to see Rook cooking breakfast for Rain. The girl was at a stool at the island, feet gently kicking as she watched Rook chase sausage links around the pan. He wasn’t doing a terrible job, but still- Jon found it all damned funny.
Rook jumped, looking scandalized before tossing Jon a crossed glare. Rain gave a little o of surprise but quickly slipped down off her stool to give Jon a hug. Rook snickered smugly at Jon’s bewildered expression before he wrapped his own arms around the girl.
“What’s all this for, then?” He meant the entire scene before him, not just the hug, but he’d take whatever answers he could get.
Rain gave Jon a final squeeze with a satisfied little happy sound, then pulled back. “Thank you for saving my mom.”
Oh. Right. He’d kinda forgotten the woman meant the world to the little girl. Damn, he was out of practice at this. When Rain padded off to the fridge to get some juice, Jon pinned Rook with his eyes.
“She’s down for the moment, Jon. No need to fret.”
Damn. If Rook wasn’t playing his usual bullshit games, he was one step away from feral and trying to keep it together. That one ambiguous sentence told Jon all that he needed to know: That Rook had been lost in his magic, that Moira was temporarily dead, and that he was dancing around Rain for some reason. On the heels of Rain’s thank you, Rook’s comment sounded way too much like he’d just checked on the girl’s mother, nothing more. Jon needed a minute alone with Rook to get their story straight. There might be a good reason to keep Rain in the dark- but it might just be more of Rook’s stupid take on the world alone crap. He needed to know, but it could wait until after breakfast.
Jon shook his head at Rain’s offer of juice, moving to the table instead. He wanted a good vantage point to watch Rook play his little game with his little charge. Gods, why couldn’t they just be actual allies and play it straight with one another?
Rook was having none of that. He pursed his lips as Jon retreated, vocalizing his displeasure.
“There’s no need to be anti-social, Jonathan. Breakfast is almost ready.”
“There’s no need for you to play June Cleaver, either, but I wasn’t gonna ruin it for you.”
Rook scowled and turned away. “He’ll be cranky without coffee,” he said to Rain, who was putting frozen waffles into the toaster. “Do you all keep any?”
“Yeah, I can get some started, hold on.”
There was something going on between Rook and Jon, some tension singing high in their little banter. Rain didn’t know them well enough to interpret it, but that part of her did know them well enough to know something was off. The wildness in Rook from earlier still had her wary, and Jon too, apparently. He was an emotional time bomb, more moody than any stereotypes leveled against teenagers, and certainly worse than anyone at school. There, Rain knew the rules, and knew everyone else would play by them. Rook didn’t care about social standings or saving face- Rook didn’t care about anything, far as Rain could tell.
That thought was waaaay too big for this early in the morning, so Rain pushed it aside and started the coffee. She measure out enough that there would be some left for Mom when she got up- Oh! Her mother! What on earth would she say to strange men making breakfast in her kitchen?
“What is it dear?”
Rain spun at Rook’s voice in her ear, she hadn’t know he was that close. Rook stepped back, bowing his head in apology. “I’m sorry, it was just clear something was distressing you. What happened?”
Oh, so that was Rook’s stupid plan. Keep her calm and happy and she won’t have any reason to choose to leave us. Goddamnit Rook. Even after centuries of chances, Jon didn’t understand how Rook could be so bad at this. He read people well enough, so why could he ever manage to treat the girl as the same? His missing magic, yes, but housed in a person, a mortal girl. Why was it so hard for him to understand that they’d want what any young woman would want?
Rain wanted to bolt. She couldn’t explain why, but a panicked feeling was scratching at the back of her skull, urging her to snatch up her mother and run.
But it wasn’t safe out there. Myles may be dead, but that thought filled her with more worry than comfort. Because something out there had killed him.
She didn’t suspect anyone she knew- Rook and Jon had been with her, and had been just as shocked to see him on their porch. Zig could never, just never, and Meliki wouldn’t bring that sort of trouble down on her people. She might kill Myles, if she thought she could get away with it, but leaving the body on someone’s door step was not the way to get away with things.
Rain had thought everything could go back to a kind of normal after Jon had fixed her mom, but who had she been kidding? This was her life now, full of strange men not-arguing with silent glances in her kitchen, and not-fey boys that pelted her with invisible Nerf darts, and fey-mothers that would kill to protect her daughters. And her mom… She hadn’t woken up yet, who knew who she would be when she did? Jon promised to do his best, but…
The magic wasn’t going to go away. She was still a victim of the spells Myles had put on her, of the memories she’d had to had put on her to function. Rain’s magical life wasn’t going to just politely stay under wraps, and more lies and memories would have to be laid down for her mother’s own protection.
And Rook was still staring at her, waiting for an answer, and Jon was still staring at him, as if he could make his skull catch on fire with a look. And Rain still felt absolutely cornered and there was nothing she could do about it.
“It’s not fair!”
She yelped at the sound of the mugs shattering on the floor. When had she grabbed them? Why had she thrown them? Why was Rook taking her by her shaking hands and leading her to the table? Why hadn’t her shout woken her mother?
Rain wrenched herself from Rook’s grasp, darting from the kitchen back to the living room. She threw herself down to the floor in front of her mother’s couch, sobbing in the blanket that covered her. She was crying, why wasn’t her mother waking up? Why wasn’t Mom waking up to comfort her, to sit up and let her curl up under the afgan and cry and cry until she got it all out. Why were these strangers standing in the entryway, watching her sob like they’d never seen a girl cry before and didn’t know what to do. Why was this all still happening?