Addergoole
Rix's Guest Story
Thanksgiving, Year 8, Part II

By the time the rescue party arrived Penny was cleaned and dressed. Her late captor’s self interest had provided soap, towels and hot water. The plain bed sheet she’d found still in its packaging, probably purchased to be her shroud, was draped and tied to form a dress. Her knee length coat, the only surviving item of her own clothing, was buttoned up over the top for warmth.

Fridmar and Luke were the first two through the door acting, she realised later, as if they were going to deal with an ambush. When they looked at her face a dispassionate part of her near-Grigori mind noted the changes that occurred in their expressions when they were really angry. That anger seemed left with nowhere to go when they realised that she was holding vigil over her captor’s body, spreadeagle on his back with a disfigured face and the bone hilt of a knife sticking out of his chest. Fridmar walked around the corpse to Penny, stowing his weapon as he came, and wrapped one of his fur cloaks around her, holding her for a moment in a solid embrace. Penny didn’t lean into it but the near foot and a half difference in their height made it easy for her to rest her head on his chest for a moment.

“And how are you?” His familiar, thick accent was a comfort in itself.

“He’s dead and I’m still winning.” The expression on her face and the tilt to her head made her look for a moment, in her mixed finery, like a queen.

“Da,” her mentor acknowledged but he put an admonitory figure tip on the end of her nose, “Do not try to be too clever for your own good, da?” He let her go.

Mark, the oldest cy’Luca still in Addergoole, was standing next to the body with an odd look on his face. “Uh, excuse me,” he asked. Penny and Fridmar looked over at him. “Why did you stab him in the heart after he was dead?”

“It may have been my imagination,” Penny confessed, “But I thought he was regenerating. It seemed to me that the abatu damage I did to him was less than when I’d done it. There were two things I could think of that I could do to stop that happening. The easiest one was a rowan blade through the heart.”

“Fair enough,” Mark acknowledged.

“What was the second one,” asked Luke looking up from the deceased’s effects, “Out of interest.”

“Taking his head off with that machete thing,” Penny pointed at the floor beside her, “I found in his weapons bag. It probably would have taken me at least three blows.”

“More than that I think,” rumbled Fridmar in correction of her estimate.

“But at worst I would have been doing it while he was discovering he still couldn’t breathe,” Penny finished.

Later, back at Kath’s mother’s house which was after Penny’s safe delivery very full of men, Penny was trying to defuse Kath’s mother’s apology. “It’s alright,” she was saying, “I’m fine.”

“I should never have sent you out there on your own,” Ellen, Kath’s mother continued, “That horrible, horrible man. When Kath came back and told me the store had said your husband was taking you home, I was so worried.”

Penny caught Ellen’s hands in hers. “It is alright,” she reiterated firmly. “He was trolling for a victim. If it hadn’t been me, it would have been someone who wasn’t able to get away from him. Together we saved someone else’s life tonight.” She looked the older woman firmly in the eye. Penny was far too tired to use a Working, but in any case she believed it would be better if she could persuade her hostess without magic.

Ellen threw her arms around her daughter’s friend, “I’m just so glad you’re safe!”

On her return to school after the Thanksgiving holiday, Penny’s first stop after she settled the twins down for a nap under Kath’s watch was to go see Dr Caitrin. Not unsurprisingly the doctor was expecting her. “If you hadn’t come to see me today,” Dr Caitrin commented as she showed Penny into an examination room, “I would have sent for you tomorrow. So, we’ll check you for diseases and any damage, then fix anything we find. Anything else I should consider?” She looked enquiringly at her patient who was already partially disrobed.

“I want to be pregnant.” It was a bald statement of fact and not what the doctor had expected. Penny went on, “Victory conditions. The last words he said were to call me an Ashanevai bitch. Apparently what he had been doing to those poor girls didn’t count, either because no-one he cared about found out or there were no children to prove what he’d done.” She paused, “I have no intention of telling his people that it was me who killed him and why, but part of my victory is to prove to the universe what he was. Besides,” she smiled at the doctor who was looking at her uncertainly, “I had already been thinking that I would like a girl as well as the boys, more chance of seeing my grandchildren. And I promise my next stop after I leave here is Dr Mendosa.” The air popped.

After a thorough physical examination and a few curative Workings that mainly dealt with residual bruising, Dr Caitrin handed Penny an Addergoole birth control pill and a glass of water. “Having a child as a result of this...event is still an option,” said Dr Caitrin, “If you’re sure about this, then take the pill and come back and see me in the morning before class.”

“Thank you,” Penny swallowed the tablet with a swig of water and stood to leave, “I’ll come back after I drop the boys off with Lady Maureen.”

A few minutes later Penny knocked on Dr Mendosa’s office door then entered in response to the muffled summons. Inside Dr Mendosa looked up at her and smiled, “I’ve been expecting you, Penny. It’s not often that two teachers tell me I should expect a student to come and see me. Please sit down,” she indicated a chair, “Now, what do you want to see me about?”

“May I assume that Professor Fridmar or Luke told you what happened to me the day before Thanksgiving?” Penny wasn’t sure how much she would need to explain.

“As much as they knew, in general terms,” Dr Mendosa gave another brief smile, “In the nature of a referral. But what do you want to talk about?”

“Three things concern me,” Penny took a deep breath then plunged in, “Firstly, I’m concerned he might have left something lingering in my head. I don’t think he had tempero or intinn but I’d like to be checked out, just in case.” Dr Mendosa nodded in agreement. “Secondly, I’m not as upset in myself as I would have expected. It’s as if,” she explained, “I’ve already taken all that happened on board, tied a knot and moved on. I don’t know,” she spread her hands to indicate her lack of knowledge, “Whether its part of that whole brain chemistry, Grigori mindset and mental structure thing we talked about before, or whether I’m just storing trouble up for myself later.”

“Both are possibilities,” observed Dr Mendosa, her fingers templed, “And the third thing?”

Penny swallowed nervously, then said, “The incident has raised some issues about myself and, well, sex that I’m not comfortable with.”

“We can work on all of those issues,” said Dr Mendosa, “I’ll check the first one for you now, and we’ll make an appointment for tomorrow to begin on the others.”

Later in the week Professor Michelle VanderLinden ushered Penny into her office and seated her into a comfortable chair then sat in her own chair behind the desk. “How can I help, Penny?” she asked, “Dr Mendosa explained a little and I can tell that you find what you want to talk about embarrassing and slightly...shameful.” She tilted her head slightly to one side. “Why is that?”

“I can’t quite get my head around why despite his being a serial killer and a Nedetakaei Hunter who was going to kill me, part of my mind thinks he was gorgeous, much more attractive than any of the boys here.” Penny took a deep breath and went on, “And I know he was figuring out where my buttons are so he could push them at will, but I did enjoy some of what he did.” She paused for a moment, “Dr Mendosa thought I might benefit from a chat with you from your practical experience about the wider bounds of normal in sex and sexuality.”

Professor VanderLinden blinked. “I think this is going to call for a pot of tea. While I’m making it you can tell me what this young man looked like.”

A week and a half later Penny was in her mentor’s office. “And you are having help from Dr Mendosa, da? What progress do you think you are making?”

“Well,” Penny smiled, “Apparently Dr Caitrin’s birth control pills give me twins.”

“Again?” Fridmar seemed amused, “I warned you about being too clever for your own good. Four children under four,” he shook his head. “Their father had a good, strong body. You will make sure they have good minds, da?”

“Yes,” Penny agreed, “Shenera Endraae. Dr Mendosa and I are sorting through a few things about the way my mind works and reasonable expectations, that sort of thing. Professor VanderLinden has been very generous,” Professor Fridmar seemed very still, “In discussing the breadth of her experience and advising a reading list.” He relaxed while Penny went on, “But I do have a question I hope you can help me with Professor.”

“Da?”

“If a child’s father is dead before it’s born, then who names it?”

Discuss

Addergoole is copyright © 2009-2011 Lyn Thorne-Alder with Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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