Interlude: Aelgifu (b)
Ayla moaned softly, looking up at her, licking her lips. “Yeah?” she asked, blinking in the dim light.
“My ears?” She squinted up at her. “Ow, my feet are asleep.”
“It’s okay.” Ioanna sat up slowly, and sucked in a breath. “Yes, your ears. Wow. That didn’t hurt?”
“My head hurts a little,” she admitted, brushing her hair away from her brow to reveal two tiny hornbuds between the ears. ”But it does that sometimes when I’m um...” she blushed, and whispered, “concentrating.”
“We should get you to the doctor’s. Maybe some clothes first...” She sighed. “That was really good, too.”
“Yeah?” Ayla smiled widely, then hesitated. “Wait, the doctor’s? Why?”
“Here, I’ll show you.” Ioanna reached down to help Ayla to her feet.
She got halfway up to standing before she stumbled. “Feet...” she moaned, then, more panicked, “Io, I don’t want to to go the doctor. Shahin went, and she ended up pregnant...”
“Just relax, Angel. We need to... oh, wow. Feet.”
“I...” She stumbled and sat down with a thump on the bed. ”Shahin wants me to have Tolly’s baby. I don’t want to go to Caitrin’s. Ow. Feet?”
“Shahin what? Here, just sit for a minute, you probably can’t walk on those.”
She held her head and looked up at Io through her hands. “Wants me to have Tolly’s baby.”
“Tolly... but... why?” Anatoliy was a nice enough boy, sure, but Shahin knew Ayla wasn’t interested. Knew she was with Ioanna.
“He needs another baby to, I don’t know, to graduate.” She ran her hands over her forehead. “Am I growing horns?”
“Yes, Angel, and ears, and... something, feet, I don’t know. We really should get you to the doctor. I won’t let her do anything bad to you.”
“Promise?” she whispered, her voice barely a squeak.
“I promise,” Io nodded, feeling the familiar pop of air.
Ayla struggled towards her feet. “Io… is it true?”
“Is which part true?” she asked, wincing a little. “Careful on your...” paws “feet.”
“The graduation requirements.” She reached for Io’s arm, stopping halfway at the wince.
“Yes. It is, Angel. I couldn’t tell you, before; I’m sorry.”
“At least it’s not like Emrys with Shahin… am I a monster, Io?” The subject change was fast enough to give someone whiplash.
“No... no, you’re beautiful, Angel. You really are. It’s going to be a bit of a shock, though.”
She whimpered quietly. “I liked being human.”
“It’s okay. You should see yourself. Well... maybe once the shock has worn off a little.”
“I’ve seen what people look like around here, Io. I have…” She touched her forehead, and then back further, where the ears were still growing. “Oh, god. That’s what you meant by ‘ears.’”
“Yeah. They’re nice, Ayla. You should still get to the doctor, though.”
“Why? Can she stop this? Make it go away?”
“Make it not hurt, at least. Make it easier on you.”
“Are you… are you still going to want me?” She staggered to her feet at the prompting, even as she whimpered out her question.
A fierce surge of protectiveness swept through Ioanna as she moved to support Ayla. “Of course I am, Angel.”
“Thank God.” She didn’t seem aware of the nimbus of blue light that surrounded her as she leaned against her lover. “I don’t think I could do this, any of this, without you, Io.”
“I’m here for you, Ayla. Whatever you decide.”
Art by Mika
Copyright © 2009-2011 Lyn Thorne-Alder with Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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