Interlude: Bowen/Kendra

Bowen had never been a big fan of literature, but he loved his Lit class. It was one of the few real breathers he got, his only class without either Agatha or Dysmas - without any of his Owner's Crew at all. Settled in the back of the room, between Eris and Adrian, he was nearly invisible and almost completely ignored.

Despite the fact that he could sum up much of his home life with the same phrase, this was much more comfortable; perhaps it was the knowledge that it would be sustained, whereas at home Agatha might call him to task for anything at any time. She meant well, he knew, and he really cared for her, but sometimes he needed to get away.

And sometimes he needed to do things he wasn't certain she'd like. Yesterday, when she, Dysmas, and Anatoliy had gone out to the café for dinner, he'd managed to smuggle the packet Jamian had given him from its kitchen hiding place into his backpack; now, under the cover of his hefty lit text, he could pull it out and peruse it.

It was certainly interesting reading; how much of it could be true? Yes, much of the Belonging had happened as it was described here, but some of the rules weren't quite the way Agatha had explained them to him; and surely, with her years of experience, she would know how everything worked here. Besides, this read almost like she could control his very thoughts, and that was clearly absurd. She wouldn't do that, anyway; she wasn't that kind of person.

He rubbed thoughtfully at the bruised spot on his arm, pondering some of the stranger things in the document. It read like some sort of propaganda for the evils of Owning, but there were some tricky bits in there, too, things he thought he could maybe use, next year. Or maybe the year after.

After all, he wouldn't have Agatha forever. He'd miss her, of course, but then he'd get a Kept of his own. A nice, pretty little girl; he'd go shopping, the first week next year, when the Sixth Cohort didn't know anything yet. This document would help him, with its explicit descriptions of the legalities involved and the precise functioning of both Sanctity and Belonging. His mentor would give him the rest; Professor Fridmar had been so very helpful, in showing him how to deal with Agatha, how to deal with other students, how to advance his own goals regardless of those around him. Bowen smiled as he closed the book, tucking the dossier into it. The future looked bright.


Ofir was on a rampage again. Something had set him off, somewhere in class, and he'd practically yanked Kendra back to their room, skipping dinner again. "Make me something to eat," he snapped at her, as he threw his bag down on the bed and began unloading his books.

The room's small pantry was decidedly limited. She perused it quickly, the order pressing at him. She'd need to go shopping soon, if he'd let her out of the room. For now… She began pulling things out and tossing ingredients into a pan. Hopefully, he wouldn't object to the combination too much. Maybe, if he approved, he'd let her have some.

When she turned back to him, dinner simmering, he was getting undressed, and a flash of panic shot through her; she had learned to deal with more awkward things than she'd ever dreamed, these past months, but that would make cooking difficult, even dangerous! Fortunately, it turned out he was just heading for the shower. She waited to breathe a sigh of relief until he was in the bathroom with the door closed, and focused on making dinner as tasty as she could.

Once everything was set and she had nothing to do but wait, and the shower was running full blast, she leaned back on the counter and pulled out a page of the packet Kailani had slipped her. She'd kept them all as separate sheets in various places, so that she could sneak a read when she had a moment. This one was discussing some of the finer points of etiquette regarding the Belonging; what one would, could, and should do - and not do - with both their own Kept and others'.

Some of it was very interesting, if entirely in an academic way. Ofir might be pushing the limits of acceptability, but no one was going to do anything about it. And it wasn't like she could ask for help. She literally couldn't; and, according to this, other people weren't really allowed to interfere anyway. She would just have to live with it, for the year... god, she hoped he released her at the end of the year, as seemed customary but not required.

The shower stopped, and she hastily pocketed the scrap of paper. As long as she did everything he wanted, she'd probably be all right.


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