Chapter 183b: Jamian
"Nobody's killing anybody." Luke stepped in between the three of them, a wing-tip on Kendra, a hand on Ofir, a hand on Jamian. "Break it up, you three. Now, one at a time, what happened. Kendra?"
The mouse-girl squeaked incoherently, panic quickly taking her over. The only thing clear in the nervous chittering was "Not his. Not his bitch anymore."
"Okay. Breathe." Luke was leaking discomfort all over the place; it was making Jamian as jittery as Kendra was. "Ofir, what happened?"
"The sl… Fifthie there, Jamian, he was talking to Kendra, hitting on her again the way he keeps doing, and… he did something to her that made her disobey. I don't know how he did it, he was slinging around some nonsense shit…"
Mindful of how irritable the gym teacher was getting, Jamian tried to keep it neutral. "Ofir was angry that I was speaking to Kendra and attacked me. Defending myself I…" Damnit, well, it would come out eventually, "I used the Frodleikr Working I've been practicing."
"The what?" Luke dropped both arms and folded his wings, turning his whole body to stare at Jamian. "Say that again."
"Frodleikr." He frowned. "It's not the first time it's come up."
"First I've heard of it. That's not a Word…" He corrected himself quickly. "It's not a Word in the standard set. And Kendra, you said you're not Ofir's anymore? You felt the bond break?"
She wrinkled her nose and kicked the collar sitting on the floor. "I felt… something. It was like a bunch of bricks lifted off my chest?"
"You see?" Ofir snarled. "He took my Kept away. That's got to be against the Law."
"It… is not." Luke held up a hand. "No, shut up. We'll deal with this all at once." He grabbed a radio off his belt. "Doug. Get Laurel, Shira, Mike, and Ty and meet me in Regine's conference room."
His Mentor, Kendra's, Ofir's… and his Keeper. "Could you get Kai, too?" Jamian poked in. "I know she's not on the, well, on my name, but she understands this better than me." So did Manira, but asking for someone else's Kept was probably pushing things too far.
"She… she would, wouldn't she? All right." He spoke into the radio again. "Pick up Kailani cy'Regine while you're at it. Come on, kids."
"What are you going to do about my Kept?" Ofir snarled. "She's mine."
"Well, then. You shouldn't have fought someone bigger than you." Luke's smile was unkind. "This way."
Ofir, sputtering incoherently, grabbed for Kendra's arm. With a smile every bit as unkind as Luke's, she danced out of the way, snugging herself between the gym teacher and Jamian. "No more." Her voice was sounding firmer by the moment. "Never again."
Luke cut off Ofir's wheedling. "Save it for later. Right now, we have to deal with the matter at hand, which includes you attacking somebody else's Kept without provocation."
"What?" Ofir snarled. "I was provoked!"
"That may have flown last time, when the kid walked into a fight with you, but this time, nothing was happening. Shit, Ofir. When Agatha released you, I thought you were going to walk away from the stupid bullshit."
"She had her turn…" To Jamian's ears, the protest sounded flat and uncertain. Ofir's emotions registered uncomfortably thoughtful and worried. "She…"
"Aggie's really good at lying." Jamian wasn't sure why he was trying to help out the guy who had been trying to kill him all year. "Really good at making her way sound like the Right Way." Kai had certainly run into that enough.
"Yeah, well," Luke grumbled, "there are other people who are supposed to say differently."
"And there are those who say we should let nature run its course." He hadn't even felt Professor Valerian show up, much less heard her. "Or not, but consistently."
"Laurel. We have a bit of a situation."
"Doug said things were messy." Her eyes raked over the three of them. "They look messy."
"They are. I only want to tell this once, Laurel; it's not going to make any more sense on the third or fourth telling."
Her frown deepened. "Really messy, then."
"It might be. We'll see what the boss has to say."
Even Ofir wasn't inclined to mouth off with his Mentor right next to him, so the walk to Regine's office was quiet, short, and uncomfortable. It got even less comfortable for Jamian when the door opened onto Professor VanderLinden and Ty whispering to each other.
The words tumbled out of Jamian's mouth. "Ty, I swear, I didn't do anything this time. I was walking to the Library. That's all I was doing. I didn't mean to do anything, but Ofir…"
"It's always when you don't mean to, isn't it?" The frustration in his Keeper's voice cut into Jamian. "Jame', I'm starting to think I have to keep you on a leash, the way some Keepers do. Every time I let you out of my sight, you get in trouble."
"I told you that you had to keep him reined in. And now look what he's done!" Ofir gestured angrily at the collar-less Kendra.
Jamian backed against the wall, feeling trapped. Everyone was staring at him. Everyone was glaring at him. "I saw Kendra in the hall, I said hi. Ofir threw a snit and started throwing Workings at me. So I did a defense move Manira and I have been working on…"
"Manira?" The question - and the wave of consternation - came from three of the adults all at once - Regine, and when had she gotten there, Luke, and VanderLinden. It was Regine that continued.
"And when, and why, did you start working with her?"
"She's in my cy'ree, isn't she?" Being attacked for getting into yet another fight with Ofir - one that really hadn't been his fault this time! - was bad enough. Being yelled at for talking to a cy'ree mate was enough to make him start shouting. "She's in my cy'ree," he repeated, "she's Owned by my Owner's crewmate, which means I live with her and, more than any of that, she's the only person - the only person in this school, except Kai, who didn't blow me off and pretend that nothing was going on." He took a deep breath. "And you might have all been too busy to notice, but Kai's got bigger problems then my little word."
"Jamian…" He hadn't even seen her come in, either, but Kai was looking awfully pale; Conrad, behind her, wasn't looking much better.
He'd worry about that later. He had a good head of steam going and, what's more, for once, people were shutting up and letting him talk.
"I knew that there was something going on when I changed the air in our suite. I knew it was something weird when I messed up Conrad's collar. But everyone kept blowing me off - everyone but Kai, and then Manira. Everyone kept telling me that there was no such Word as Frodleikr, even when it was clear that it sounds like a Word and acts like a Word."
He glared around at all of them. All of them, except Kailani, who'd helped, and Ty, because Ty was… well. Because. "So I figured it out. The Council Lady had heard of it, by the way. She thought it was your crowning achievement, Director, so I'm surprised you didn't know about it. Lots of stuff you don't know around here, isn't there? Like what Agatha did to Kai. Like what she did to Bowen. What she probably did to this moron here." He gestured angrily at Ofir. "Is there anything in your…"
"Jamian. That's enough." Professor VanderLinden's hand settled gently on his shoulder. "Let's focus on the matters at hand right now, all right?"
"Which matters?" He felt run-out, like he'd slammed into a brick wall.
"Ofir, Kendra, and this Word of yours."
"I defended myself from Ofir. I used Frodleikr to do it. Abatu and Frodleikr, Aposyntheto and Frodleikr. A lot. He was throwing a lot of stuff at me, Shape and Mind, shape and body. Trying to change my heart…. Both ways, really." He felt completely numb. "Please stop Working my emotions, Professor."
"You seemed like you needed some help calming down."
"I think sometimes it's worth being angry. I think that these things... well. I didn't break any rules this time." He sought out Ty, finally, looking for his Owner, hoping to see or feel something there. "Ty. I didn't do anything this time."
Ty sighed. "Come here, Jame," he murmured. "I believe you. I'm sorry I yelled at you. It's just…"
"I know, I'm a pretty lousy Kept." He slunk into Ty's arms, feeling pretty tiny.
Luke coughed. "Jamian's in the right this time. He was attacked without provocation and without doing anything even Drake could argue was interfering. And he defended himself."
"He talked to her! When I told him not to! When I told her not to."
Copyright © 2009-2012 Lyn Thorne-Alder. All rights reserved.
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