Title: Cody's Dream
Notes: Starts early in Year 9 of the Addergoole School, some bits may be confusing if you haven't read anything else in the setting. (In addition to Addergoole/Fae Apocalypse being aldersprig
's creation, so too is Yolanda. Lemon and Hylakaros come by way of rix_scaedu
Summary: The event that sets about changing Cody from passive geek girl (as seen in How to Trap A Cody, set despite the title after
Cody's being magically bound as an older student's servant for the year) to the girl in the maybe-canon Family Ties
who was described as 'scary girl' by an Agency trained cat person, "She was all covered in blood you know. Most of it probably wasn't even hers." Cody shows up at a few points in aldersprig
's Addergoole: Year 9
Warnings: Set in Addergoole, a high school for unusual students with practices much of the pre-and-post apocalypse world would object to (about the only way to be expelled is to kill another student). In particular in this story: two fights and a teenage pregnancy.
Words: roughly 3500So this is what a lucid dream is like.
Cody was surprised that she didn't wake from that thought or the surprise that came along with it. Everything felt real. Full of the little details that separated dreams from reality. The peeling anti-corrosion paint on the metal struts of the bridge she stood upon. The stray dogs in the vacant lot in the distance on the other side of the river. The faint smell of smoke from the fires started by the battle in the distance.Fire? Fighting? How am I so calm?
As if that thought threw a switch she could hear a soft whispering in her own voice even if her dream self's lips didn't seem to be moving.
"Buli hugr Cody sh'Leyla," the rest of the Working slipped past her even as it was repeated, the words tantalizingly close. "My mind is ice. My soul is ice. No fear. No grief. Only ice and duty."
Gravel crunched on the blacktop and the quietly whispered words were replaced with words so firmly spoken that she could not believe that she was truly the speaker even in a dream.
"Get the kids out of here. He won't pass me."
"Cody," she finally saw her father as he walked around her. There was pain in his voice and a shotgun held tight in his hands. He gazed out at the rising smoke his knuckles white from how tightly he grasped the shotgun. "Cody, I'll take care of this."
"No papa. I'm sorry, it has to be me." She dropped her Mask and somehow knew this was the first time she had revealed her Change to her father. "I'm sorry, but I have to do this. Gather the rest and get them away from here. He won't pass."
She looked back down the road and hid the pain in her belly when he let out a quiet curse, the first she could remember him ever uttering in front of her or his other children. But right after those words came a quiet prayer. A prayer for her safety. Squeezing her shoulder he offered her the shotgun.
"No. You'll need it more than I will. Get the kids out of here, keep them safe."
"Come back alive. You know where we're heading, so you just make sure you live and catch up with us. We'll be waiting for you there."
"Papa, thank you papa. I love you. I'll catch up and I'll explain what I can when I do, so make sure you're all alive for me to find. Now go, he's getting closer."
It felt like he might say something more, but then after squeezing her shoulder again he turned and headed back towards the others. She could just make out the argument that followed before he convinced them to leave without her. Without her or--
"It is not the time for fire. I am ice. My fury is cold. Buli Hugr..." Once more her dream self made another working that she could almost follow. Then she calmly waited.
Letting her backpack slide from her shoulders she removed the paper wrapped bundles she'd prepared with her older brother. Treating each like a hand grenade that had already had their pins removed. She could swear her fingers itched despite the thick wrapping of waxed paper. The minutes passed as seconds before a single figure walked down the road to the bridge. If not for the blood that covered his clothes it might be easy not to see the Nedetakaei hunter for the monster he was. The dark haired man stood only a bare inch or two taller than her but with the cocky grin he seemed to be looking down at her as if he were seven or maybe ten feet tall. Golden eyes gazed upon her and when she didn't move a muscle his grin only grew before he laughed.
"Are you a gift little kitten? Or maybe a sacrifice?" When he spoke his voice seemed to echo off every surface around her. It might have been intimidating if she hadn't seen four Hell Nights and worse back in school.
"Neither. I am Cody sh'Leyla, called The Quiet by my classmates. I deny you this bridge. Go any direction but this."
"You deny me? By what right do you deny me anything
little Ashanevai brat? At least run and make this entertaining. Who knows, it's possible you could entertain me enough to live a little longer."
"By what right? By the blood that covers you, the lives you've taken, and those you threaten. I deny you this bridge and I swear you shall not pass me."
A knife appeared in his hands in the same moment she could feel the world acknowledging her Oath. A subtle shift in reality and chilly wind blowing through her. She didn't so much as twitch and simply stared at him.
"You talk too much for one named The Quiet. I'll cut your tongue out and fix that. Do you think your Oath means anything little halfbreed? Without the strength to back it up it is nothing. Do you think I'm scared of a clawless cat?"
"I don't care if you're scared," she ignored the knife as he tossed it from hand to hand and concentrated on his eyes and hands and feet instead. They'd tell her what all she needed to know. "I only care that you go any direction but this." Keep talking monster. Every moment you waste the farther and safer they are.
He laughed again, "I think I'll let you live long enough to watch me flay those you're protecting. You want to protect them? Get on your knees and beg. Please me enough, promise to serve me, and maybe I'll let them die before I skin them. If a little halfbreed animal like you has survived this long you must be good at begging."
"Do you really think you scare me?" She let some emotion color her words for the first time, scorn twisting each word. "I saw worse than you in school. I survived worse than you in school. I've known a squirrel that was scarier. Keep your trophies and crawl back to your owner little boy--"
It seemed the hunter couldn't stand being taunted by his prey. She leapt back a good ten feet the moment the knife left his hand. The blade met the paper wrapped bundle that had been in her left hand and tore into it open instead of her chest. A silent stream of words passed through her head, her lips once more still, and a stiff wind rushed from behind her carrying dust and leaves and most importantly the double handful of finely ground hawthorn sawdust. Another silent Working aimed at the hunter's chest left him gasping for air like a drowning man, then coughing and screaming as he doubled over from the burning in his lungs.
"What was that about claws?"
Another knife appeared in his hands as he straightened up again. His mouth opened but she didn't give him the time to speak. Ripping the paper from other packet before throwing a handful of razor tipped hawthorn darts, ignoring the burning of her hands at even the brief touch. The hunter revealed his skill dodging and deflecting all but one of the darts.
Another leap, this time towards the monster, slapping his knife hand with her left accepting the pain as the blade sliced into arm. Her right hand slamming palm first into the dart sending the shaft into his chest while fragments splintered into her palm. No taunt left his lips before his knife tumbled from his fingers and his body soon followed it to the ground.
Cody let herself fall and curled around her hands, clutching them tight to her chest. Something wrestled with her and she kicked and twisted in the sudden darkness. With a scream of pain and rage she forced her way free before feeling the carpet under her and recognizing the faint light of the bedroom's alarm clock. Reaching out to her side she felt the edge of the bed and heard the shifting of the mattress as Yolanda stirred and sat up. Taking a deep shuddering breath Cody scrambled over the side of the bed all but throwing herself at her Keeper's side. "I- He- M-m-m--" Unable to get any more words out Cody buried her face to Yolanda's chest and cried while the older girl wrapped her arms around her murmuring soft comforting words. Slowly sleep overtook her once more.
In the morning she still felt phantom pain in her arms. Holding them close she looked into Yolanda's eyes. Taking a deep breath once more before speaking quietly. "I think I killed him. The monster, hunter, whatever the man in my dream was."
"Good." Yolanda's voice gentle and seemingly unsurprised.
Cody blinked and blinked again at the unquestioning approval. "I was using Words on myself too. So I wouldn't feel anything. Get scared and run or cry. I taunted him and cheated and then... It was a dream but it felt so real. I could feel it when I--" Going pale as she remembered the moment of the man's death Cody pulled herself close. Hiding her face once more against Yolanda's chest.
"It's all right. It was just a dream." Yolanda's hand brushed across her head and held Cody close until she stopped shivering.
"I wish, I wish I could remember the Words I used. It was like... like watching a jedi fight someone. Tossing things through the air and making the jerk feel like he was choking. Couldn't ever really do it but it would be really nifty if the words were right." Lifting her head she looked up to Yolanda again. "Don't know how you do it if real fights are like that. Almost threw up."
"Practice. And learning to projectile vomit."
After a few seconds the corners of Cody's mouth twitched into a grin. Then she giggled. Laughing madly in but a few seconds clinging to the older girl until she calmed once more and things didn't feel quite so grim. She hugged Yolanda tightly with her cheek pressed to the older girl's cheek.
"Thank you!" Curiosity proved too strong to stop her from asking, "Do you really use that
as a weapon too?"
"Use everything at hand as a weapon." Yolanda grinned, speaking as it she was quoting someone.
"So, making someone breath sawdust isn't cheating and fighting dirty?"
"...no, that's really clever. Hawthorn sawdust?"
"Yeah. And tlacatl and kaana and some other Words I can't remember."
"Well done, we can teach you that."
"I don't want to have to." She wanted to just hug tightly and let Yolanda tell her everything will be okay again. But instead continues with, "But I think maybe I ought to. If that makes sense."
"I think you should if you're dreaming about it."
"Is this one of those, 'you should talk with your mentor,' things?"
"Yes. Or my mentor. Or both."
Cody thought about that. Their mentors were very different. But it made sense. Dr. Caitrin could probably tell her what Workings would do things like make someone feel as if they were choking or drowning and desperately needed to breath. And Doug could maybe teach her how to fight, if he'd teach someone who wasn't one of his cy'ree.
"Maybe both. I should probably ask Dr. Caitrin if I can help more. Maybe I'm not good with the healing Word. But I'm sure I can help other ways." Trying to ignore another remembered pain she closed her eyes and hugged tight to Yolanda again. "And maybe if I practice enough I'll be able to help if you're hurt again."
"It's okay, really." It was hard to believe the words but it was also hard to keep hurting when Yolanda petted her head.
"It really sucked not being able to do anything." Opening her eyes she gave Yolanda the sternest look she could and dared to overstep her place as a Kept, "You're not allowed to get hurt anymore!"
"Oh! If I'm in charge now, then let's see, I want chocolate, fried chicken, and we should have a picnic out in the woods." She kept the stern look before breaking into more giggles.
"We could probably do that." Yolanda answers with a laugh.
"Like, really out in the woods? Not just one of the garden rooms?"
And for the next several minutes her dream was forgotten.
Not long after at breakfast that morning Cody paused in her demolition of pancakes and turned to Hylakaros as the their suite's resident Nedetakaei expert. "You've been around, ah, done more, been in more fights? Would a hawthorn dart through a hunter's heart be enough to kill them or should I have done more to make sure?" Not even noticing anyone else's reaction to the question as she waits for the answer.
"Yes, and even if you miss the heart, it's still going to be a bitch, with the poison."
"Oh! No wonder the sawdust hurt and pissed him off so much." She blushed at her own strong language when she noticed what she said. But soon shook it off. "I'll need gloves and a mask."
"Yes," Hylakaros agreed, "and a safe way to gather and dispose of the sawdust and shavings. Remember, hawthorn doesn't just do damage, it'll stop any of us using our magic."
"Oh, the sawdust was..." Cody got lost in her own memory of the dream for a moment, "It stops our magic? Then how did I, oh I never did, I think..." trailing off into her thoughts again before adding a sheepish, "Thanks."
"Stopping us using magic is one of the reasons it's used in manacles on prisoners," Hylakaros told them. Then asked, "Cody, is there anything the rest of us should know?"
"Oh. That makes sense." Then realized she hadn't explained anything she felt her cheeks warming with another blush. "Oh! Oh, no, not really, I'm not planning to, I mean I didn't actually, well I did but it was a dream." She stopped and held a deep breath for a few heartbeats to stop herself before babbling again. "I just had a really scary dream. But I guess now it's not as scary."
"A dream?" Hylakaros looked interested. "With hawthorn darts in it? Have you used hawthorn darts when you were awake?"
"I don't even remember ever throwing a regular dart. So, a hawthorn dart would be poisonous? Like a dart made from poison ivy? If poison ivy was tough enough to make a dart?"
"Think of it as a dangerous allergy we all share," he offered. "It might be wise to discuss this dream with your mentor. It seems very...detailed."
"Yolanda suggested the same thing. Maybe even her mentor too."
Cody was terrified the whole time she held Lemon's twins that she would drop them or hold too tightly and hurt them. Two new sparks of life she'd watched slowly growing within Lemon. She felt a tiny green flame of jealousy knowing she'd never be able to do the same. But at the same time a stronger emotion built up within her. Reluctantly she returned them to their mother and caught site of Doug and Yolanda speaking by the door, the teacher leaving just as she came over.
She reached for courage and settled for simple determination, looking up to Yolanda. "I think, I think it's time I spoke with your mentor. About my dream."
"Then you'd better hurry and catch him."
Taking that as permission she slipped out the door and moved quickly. Catching up with Doug out in the hallway. "Sir! A moment please?"
Cody froze for just a heartbeat when he stopped and turned. But a moments thought of those precious new lives, the rest of her crew, and family soon gave her courage enough to speak again.
"I'm not sure if Yolanda told you about my dream? Nightmare really. But we talked about it afterwards. And everyone agreed I should talk with my mentor and Yolanda said maybe I ought to talk with you too." Once she got started the words came easier and she rushed forward not knowing how long she might have to convince him. "When Yolanda and Niassa, even Wylie were out there fighting to keep the rest of us safe I was hiding. Hiding and hating every moment of it. I can't do that anymore. I won't! I have new family back in that room. Two helpless little ones depending on the rest of us to keep them safe. And my family back home, who don't know about any of the things I've learned about this year that could threaten them. I need to learn how to protect them, I can't protect them if I just hide again whenever anything happens.
"Dr. Caitrin's been teaching me a lot of things. If you learn to help heal someone, you can hurt them too, some of the things she's talked about are scary to even think of. But I need to learn to fight. After my nightmare Yolanda said everything at hand is a weapon. But that's no good if I don't know what to do. I need to learn to fight like her too. Please, I need to learn!"
The worry came back once she'd said it all and she felt like she was shrinking away under his gaze. But she refused to look away or step back and kept her eyes up.
After all that his reply was a grunt and, "It won't be easy."
"Yes sir. I know it will be work. But it's not something I can just read a book about over the summer. I'll take it seriously. I promise!"
"Three days a week, after classes."
"Yes sir, I'll be there!"
He didn't seem to have more to say and all the nervous energy she'd had abandoned her now that he'd agreed. Finally she gave a nod and added, "Thank you. I guess, I guess I should go back to Yolanda and Lemon now.
That nightmare had never left her mind but until the gates opened and the self proclaimed gods returned she had hoped it was nothing but a dream. Nothing but a dream that had pushed her to find strength and courage to stand up to most anyone other than her mother. She couldn't help comparing memory to reality as she dropped to her knees next to the hunter and stared at his lifeless body. The same dart had torn through his heart, another in his gut that hadn't been there in her dream, and his own knife buried in his side. Propping herself up on her hands she coughed up the hawthorn sawdust that had been caught in thick mucus she'd thought to coat her mouth and throat with in a last second Working. Coughing and washing out her mouth until her canteen was empty. Then crawling to her backpack and her first aid kit to pull out splinters out with tweezers and a shaking hand before bandaging herself one handed. She'd thought to wear gloves but three jagged pieces still managed to pierce her palm.
She tried giving the body a Working to make sure it was truly dead but either hawthorn or shock kept her from succeeding. But with two darts, a lung full of sawdust, and a knife desperately aimed for a kidney she didn't think he'd be getting up again. Pulling the pack over her shoulders she settled for giving the hunter the hardest kick she could before searching him for anything useful. Her emotions were clearly returning commented the part of her mind that was struggling to maintain control.
Looking out into the burning city she felt the first tears falling. "Damn it, why didn't you believe me. I tried to tell you what I'd seen, why wouldn't you listen? Why won't you ever listen to me?"I should go. I need to get to cover before I collapse.
She knew she should move, but when she stopped staring at the spreading smoke and flames she looked back at the hunter instead.
"I hope it hurt. I hope it burned. I wish I'd had the time the make it last." She turned again and slowly walked away weaving back and forth across the road as she did her best to keep upright. "What good was that damn dream if I couldn't save mom!"
She made it around the bend in the road and another dozen steps before her sight faded away to black. Falling into the brush beside the road a moment later.(This is a crossposting | replies at the original post on dreamwidth | Comment at dreamwidth | You can comment on DW posts even if you don't have an account there Using OpenID!)