Rix's Guest Story
The Crew Acquire a Cat
Several generations in the future of Addergoole - after Emmalise
Damian was squeezing Emmalise's breasts from behind, pressed up against her, one hand under and on each mound, pressure just short of painful. They both knew that there was no time for full blown sex between now and dinner, particularly on a school night, but it was a promise for later and they both enjoyed it. A happy Emmalise was becoming a more and more visible Emmalise and an audible one. Not sufficiently to be able to answer questions in class, she still had to rely on notes for that but she could voice her enthusiasm in bed now instead of simply showing it. In class she was often visible, as translucent as glass, but still present. Their crew mates had refrained from commenting on her clear visibility at most breakfasts. Damian had started nibbling on the outer edge of her ear, a response to her clutching his hands more firmly to her bosom while wriggling and arching back against him when they both heard the suite door slam despite the closed bedroom door.
"We'd better see what's going on," he said reluctantly.
Emmalise nodded agreement. The faint, "Yes," that came to his ears might almost have been his imagination. He took his hands back and she straightened her top. Needing to straighten her top for modesty's sake was a triumph. He knew that Emmalise's mentor was pleased with her progress, Wysteria had told him herself that his intervention was proving useful. The librarian had even recommended some joint reading for them from the library, some of which Gladwin had borrowed before they returned it.
Out in the lounge room were the other three members of their crew and a girl with Siamese cat ears and a tail. Emmalise recognised her as another member of her own cohort. However they didn't share any classes and hadn't been in the same pod, so aside from knowing she'd been collared on Hell Night, that her name was Syrie and she was probably sh'Pelletier, Emmalise didn't know anything about her. Syrie and Sharezer were surrounded by what might have been all of Syrie's possessions.
"I'll explain in a minute," Sharezer was saying. "Syrie, if you could please sit down at the table. Gladwin, could you please heat up some of that left over chicken soup? She should only have half a cup to begin with. Jigg, can I please talk to you in my room?"
"Sure," Jigg looked uncertain but followed Sharezer into the bedroom. Gladwin looked worried but dug out a saucepan and the left over soup. Syrie sat down and looked nervous, worried and scared.
"What's going on?" asked Damian.
Gladwin shrugged and went on heating soup. "Sharezer Challenged Rambert for me and won," Syrie said in a low voice, "He made Rambert give us all my things and brought me back here via the clinic. He had Dr Caitrin fix us both up." She looked up. "I don't know why he wants me." Her voice quivered.
"Don't worry about that now," Gladwin advised kindly, "Drink your soup slowly. Take a rest between sips. I take it you haven't had much of anything recently?"
"Not very much," she admitted, "Solstice and Rambert decided I was too fat. They wanted me to be thin quickly."
"I see," said Gladwin, with a glance at Sharezer's bedroom door. "I think those two will be out in a second. We might all get a look at Sharezer's plans very soon."
They emerged from the room together when Syrie was halfway through her soup. Jigg had his Mask down, revealing him to be a five foot seven, bow legged, red haired leprechaun. Sharezer's Mask was down as well and to Emmalise he looked more like Damian than usual - same dark hair and wiry build, similar skin markings but fiery on Sharezer today and when he looked around the room it appeared to Emmalise that he had fire in his skull where his eyes should be.
"Syrie," it was Sharezer who spoke, "I propose to transfer your care to Jigg here. Do you consent to him becoming your Keeper in my place?"
"You hurt Consuela and Roseli," Syrie said slowly, "And some other girls I don't really know, then a little while ago you sent them formal apologies and chocolates. That's very confusing."
"I behaved badly," said Jigg, "And now I'm trying to do better. I promise that, while reserving the right to defend myself from attack, regardless of whether you agree to my becoming your Keeper or not, I will never deliberately cause you mental or physical harm." The air popped.
"You don't want to Keep me?" Syrie asked Sharezer seriously.
"I think that Jigg will be a better Keeper for you than I will," Sharezer was equally serious, "I think you will find him easier to like. I think you may help him keep in mind that he's a nice person. Lots of pressure, I know, but I suspect we may need to move quickly."
Syrie sipped her soup again, looked between the two boys, then looked them both up and down. She put down the soup and it was clear that she had made an important decision. "I agree to the transfer of my Ownership to JIgg."
"JIgg sh'Sile cy'Akatil, I transfer to your care my Kept Syrie sh'Peneli cy'Pelletier oro'Sharezer so that you may now be her Keeper," said Sharezer.
"I accept that charge until such time as she and I agree that we are no longer Kept and Keeper," agreed Jigg. "Uh, while you're having your soup I'd better go over your new orders." He sat down beside Syrie and began to go through what sounded like a fairly standard list of orders then, "All standing orders given to you by Rambert cy'Valerian are revoked and you are to tell me if you believe any should be reinstated. You have full kitchen and refrigerator responsibilities and privileges in this suite."
"Give," said Damian to Sharezer, "What's going on?"
"Over here," Sharezer indicated the space near the television. When they'd moved leaving Jigg with Syrie to go on with orders, he said, "This morning he'd cropped her ears and tail, then during lunch he declawed her. It was time to get her away from those bastards before they came up with something else."
"Do your homework and assignments on time," Jigg was saying, "And do no more than one sixth of the housework for this suite."
"Rambert doesn't like other people touching his things," said Sharezer, "He also doesn't like to lose. So he and his crew will probably be round to try and get her back. Jigg is helping me make things a bit more difficult for them."
"You may only tell your mentor, Dr Mendosa and Dr Caitrin that I am your Keeper and you must tell them that is a matter of greatest confidentiality," Jigg was saying, "If anyone other than the five of us present in this room now asks, is present or the subject is discussed outside this suite then you are to say that your Keeper is Sharezer sh'Aspen cy'Fridmar."
There was a determined knocking on the door to the suite. "Guess who this will be," muttered Sharezer, "I'll get it." He crossed the room again and threw the door open, taking care to stay inside the threshold, "Ah, Tiggra," he greeted Emmalise's older sister, "Solstice and Riordan. To what do we owe the pleasure?"
"We've come to get Rambert's Kept back," said Tiggra bluntly, black striped ears twitching in her orange hair.
"I Challenged Rambert and won," replied Sharezer. "There is no-one in this suite who belongs to anyone outside our crew."
"We don't care what you think you won," said Tiggra, "Syrie belongs to Rambert and we're taking her back." She paused then went on, "My silly, useless, little sister is part of your crew isn't she? Not that I've seen her around with any of you. If you don't give Syrie back, Emmalise will pay for it next time she goes home on vacation."
From Sharezer, "Well, she never has to do that again if she doesn't want to, and you might have to wind up explaining your threats to your family."
From outside in the corridor beyond the threat in the corridor, "What's all this about?"
Tiggra right back at Sharezer, "They'll back me." Sheer certainty oozed from every proverbial pore as she brought out an old chestnut, "I'm the child Mother wanted to have, she's just the kid she had to have to get out of here."
Meanwhile Solstice, looking to her left, "What's it to you, Dempster? Why don't you just go away and mind your own business?"
Sharezer looked very hard right at Tiggra, "My family would be happy to have her. JIgg's family would fit her right in. She'd come back from visiting Gladwin's family with a few new tricks up her sleeve. If you don't want her, she doesn't need you."
From out in the hall, "I came by to look up my little sister and I find you lot in the hall making threats to someone of her name. I think this might be my business."
"Your sister?" Tiggra's head had whipped around, "What do you mean, your sister?"
"Everyone has two parents, Tiggra," the male voice was drawling, "But perhaps you haven't figured that out yet? Maybe that's why you haven't made a start your graduation requirements. Emmalise and I share a father, he asked me to look in on her. Fairly simple, I'd think."
"They're all busy giving back Rambert's Kept," Tiggra snapped. "Come back later."
"Trouble with your position," the voice in the hall drawled on, "Is that we can start a fight in the hall, Luke comes to stop it, you tell him what you're after and I produce three other cy'Luca who watched Rambert accept that Challenge and lose. What do you think will happen after that?"
Emmalise had faded from sight completely. Given her sister's presence at the door, that could have been deliberate. Damian knew where she was, she was still holding his hand. She'd never mentioned a brother... Well mentioned was probably the wrong word. Conversation with Emmalise could involve a lot of idu intinn and idu hugr just to get the things that normally came across in words, facial expression and body language. She'd never thought about a brother.
Riordan put a hand on Tiggra's shoulder. "Rambert wants her back," he said, "Consider what you might accept in trade for the girl. Tiggra, Solstice," he put his free hand on Solstice's arm, "Let's go home for dinner now." Then to Sharezer, "We will talk about this again." They left, turning right down the corridor.
Sharezer sighed and watched them go. At the table Jigg took Syrie's hand and stroked it in a comforting way. Dempster cy'Luca moved into the doorway, brown hair, six foot six of solid muscle, claw tipped fingers and wings. "Obviously this is not the most convenient time," he said apologetically, "But I was hoping to speak with Emmalise."
"If you come with no ill intent and mean no harm to the inhabitants of this suite, their Kept or their guests, please enter." Sharezer was beginning to sound tired.
Dempster stepped through the doorway and looked around. "Is Emmalise here?"
Emmalise had dropped Damian's hand and was...not beside him. Sharezer closed the door. The white board marker rapped on the board for attention and the words appeared, "Are you really my brother?"
Dempster did a double take at the board. "When I heard you were invisible I assumed it was some sort of colouration thing but this is- Wow. Could you change back so I can see you?"
On the board there appeared, letter by letter, "Control is a work in progress." The sentence "Are you really my brother?" got an underline.
"According to my father, Penn Named The Silent Scribe, his daughter Emmalise sh'Sadella should be starting Addergoole this year. If you are her, then you are my half-sister. I would have come to see you sooner, but I had a few issues of my own at the beginning of the year."
"Why is he interested now?" The words appeared at the bottom of the whiteboard then the white board eraser disappeared and the words at the top of the board began to vanish. Syrie, soup finished, looked on fascinated.
"I believe," Dempster hesitated, "That Sadella told him to stay away. I don't know if it was something he did or she was with someone else or if," he stopped then said quietly, "What Tiggra said was true."
"Mother never said," the words appeared at the top of the whiteboard.
"What I came round for," Dempster ploughed on, "Was to invite you to a family party. Our other brother finished up last year but there are still few cousins floating around."
"I have two brothers?" went up on the board.
"There's Serica, she's a grandchild of Great-Uncle George. There are the sh'Delphina plus Pippin and Smice, they're all grandkids of Great-Uncle Talon," listed Dempster. "And there's Maura who's Great-Aunt Ursula's granddaughter. If we all bring a friend or partner there'll be quite a crowd."
"Hang on," said Sharezer, "Smice cy'Fridmar is your cousin? Dempster and Fitch are your brothers? The others are no slouches either. Is there anything in your powers, besides invisibility, that you haven't told us about, Emmalise?"
On the whiteboard appeared, "S: Not that I know about." Underlining appeared under the sentence "I have two brothers?"
Dempster coughed, "Um, yes. Sorry about that, Emmalise. Fitch is the eldest of us. He and I have different mothers, but I've always known him. If you decide you'd like to meet him and Dad, we can probably set something up for one of the holidays." He looked at the time. "I'd probably better let you get on with dinner. The party's at my place, Saturday night, eight. Please bring a friend. I'm providing food and drink, and Smice has promised not to eat anyone."
A few more general pleasantries and Dempster went on his way.
"Now that we're alone," said Sharezer, sitting down at the table, "I'd better explain myself. I've asked Jigg to look after Syrie but keep it secret so it's harder for Rambert and his crew to get her back."
"So they concentrate on beating you and have no idea who her real Keeper is?" Damian asked shrewdly.
"Exactly," agreed his cousin?
"Why?" asked Gladwin, "There's more going on in your head than rescuing Syrie. I could dig," he paused gracefully, "Or you could tell us."
"Rambert and Solstice like breaking people, they think it's fun." Sharezer leaned on the table, "They broke Candy so far she killed herself instead of coming back here for another year of them. Because she did it to herself, wasn't Ordered by them to do it, and it happened back at her home, it doesn't count as murder and they're not expelled. As far as I can tell, any staff member who'd want to do anything about it is geased so that they can't. I'm not though. I intend to frustrate their 'fun' as much as I can at every turn for the rest of their time here. I will take on the rest of their Crew if I have to." He sat back again and looked at the others. "Do you want me to move out?"
Damian felt Emmalise pressing up beside him and heard, "No," murmured in his ear.
Gladwin, "Of course not."
Damian, "That's two lots of no from us."
"If you move out," said Jigg mildly, "Then the jig would be up on you still being Syrie's Keeper. I vote you stay."
"Unanimous then," pronounced Gladwin. "We can work out details of keeping the girls safe over dinner."
"Syrie and I need to organise her stuff," Jigg smiled at his Kept, "And talk about collars. Is something with a coloured ribbon too kitsch?"