Addergoole
AMHarte's Stamps Question
Lives' Lessons

To Luca: who have you owned in your lifetime?

Ah, Keaira, you would have to ask that, wouldn’t you? You have a way of getting to the heart of things I don’t really want to answer.

Overlooking the very short time where I Owned Mike – Linden – which we will not talk about, I’ve Owned two people in my lifetime, one of them twice.

The first, my only excuse for was that I was young and stupid and full of myself. Great big warrior, I thought I was all that, you know? Owed my due.

I knew better, of course. My Mentor had beaten most of that bullshit out of my head when I was still a kid. But if you listen to the Daevas and the Grigori and the prissy fop halfbloods enough – and don’t look at me like that. “Prissy fop halfblood” is not the same as “all halfbloods are prissy fops,” and you damn well know it! – but you listen to them enough, and I suppose their poison sinks in. And some of them are no better than Nedetakaei.

Gillian – she was pretty, and young, and I remember thinking she was awfully cocky and full of herself. A halfbreed. She carried herself like she was better than me, and I think, after Janna and Theron, I believed her. But she got me in my pride, and it was still one of those eras where women who weren’t Mara didn’t go around acting as if they were better than men.

Don’t look at me like that. Whatever the era, it’s never a wise idea to challenge a warrior when he’s feeling cranky. Then again, I never said that Gillian was wise, did I?

A wiseass, yes. I go for that sort.

She tweaked me, I guess, and well, I may have been a savage by her pretty little white-bread standards but I’ve never been a stupid savage. And, besides, Mike felt like she owed me a favor, so she helped me out. The next thing I knew, I was the proud Owner of a slightly used halfblood with an attitude.

The five years that followed were violent, wild, and fun, but it couldn’t last. She harbored a lot of resentment for the dirty tricks I’d used to get her to Belong to me, and I was carrying a pretty big chip around on my shoulder. She wanted kids, I didn’t – not then – so I let her go. She still sends Christmas cards every year. No, I don’t know why Christmas.

The second one was different. She was very young, barely an adult, and her Mentor was someone who had been my friend for a very long time. She was bound and determined to explore what was left to explore, before every square inch of the planet had been pissed on, plowed under, and built up. But she was young, and, well, a girl, and the West wasn’t all that safe for young, beautiful girls back then, so her Mentor asked me if I’d take her on for a bit.

Wilhelmina … was something else entirely than Gillian, something different than Janna, too. Fiery, passionate. She grabbed life with both hands, even when that life was trying to eat her. I once saw her hug a grizzly bear. Keeping her safe for those seven years was a full-time job for any five men.

When our time was up, we went our separate ways. Not really because we didn’t like each other’s company, but because that’s the way things were done. And for nearly half a century, I didn’t see her.

She came into my life again in a whirlwind. A pushy asshole of a Mara wanted to Own her, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. So I Owned her, and then I got the pleasure of breaking the asshole’s face.

She wasn’t a kid this time. Shit, was that fun. And then there was Doug. This time, I wasn’t a moron like I’d been with Janna. We had a son, and that was what mattered.

You can’t hold someone like my Wil for long, though, and I didn’t want to be her Keeper. So I set her free.

That’s enough, Keaira. You’ve gone digging through my baggage plenty for one night. Go bother Mike; he’s got some good stories.

Just don’t ask him about me.

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