Hannah is.. feeling violated [2.16]

ourIceMain.jpg How many of us remember the little things in life?.. how many of us worry when we can't remember them?

Events unfold including but not limited to:
John being dragged through hallways
(despite his protests)
And Hannah learns from the observations of her elders.


 

I woke up with a jolt and a gasp, not that I’ve really ‘slept’ as such.
..I think I passed out?..

One minute I was being threatened with lightning, I yelled out that I’m Al and that triggered my brand to a truly scary level for some reason.. it must have picked up on my doubts about that fact?
The whole ‘second awakening and realising that Al died thing’ that I’m still not really over but I’m also not willing to deal with right now either..

I didn’t realise the reaction would be THAT strong.

My toes wiggled a little.
Just for the sake of experimentation I twitched other parts of my body too.
It looks like the paralysis is gone.. that’s good.. right?..

“That’s a pretty nasty brand you have there ‘Alistor’. The other one’s no better, although it’s easier to supress at least.”

Oh.. she’s still here is she?.. great..
Figures that I’d manage to get on the wrong side of the family’s pet psycho, then knock myself out by lying.

She smiled at me and I smiled back out of self-preservation.

Nice, calm sounding Psycho.. not going to try and electrocute me Psycho..
Let’s talk like civilised people shall we?

“Didn’t think brands were common knowledge these days?”

I was surprised when Trudy knew what my brand was honestly.
In hindsight it’s not THAT surprising though, brands tend to come up in the more advanced texts about runes, so she would probably have read about them when she was gaining her rather impressive rune knowledge at least.

Rune’s aren’t exactly popular these days, especially with the un-awakened mages, there’s too much time and effort involved without all the flashy payoff that the un-awakened tend to gravitate towards.

People tend to think runes are useless when a spell will do.
I tend to think ‘people’ are stupid and useless too, so we’re pretty much even I guess.

“Live long enough, you come across most things eventually.”
A fair point Psycho Lady, well made.
That doesn’t explain much but it’s still a good rule of thumb to keep in mind about mages.

“Shall we try to start again? My name is Louise Garnier, while I’m not sure of the details, I’m willing to listen to your reasoning behind joining our family by befuddling my daughter and claiming to be a Granddaughter that shouldn’t exist.”
Well.. progress I guess?..

“What changed your mind? Five minutes ago you were ready to fry me to a crisp with lightning.”

She grimaced and gave me a look that on anyone else I’d call ‘apologetic’.
It was a convincing look, but I learned a long time ago to not take crazy peoples wor-
Hold on.. did she say GRANDdaughter..?..

“Your brand, the one against lies, it didn’t trigger when you claimed to be family but it did when you claimed to be Alistor, I’m not sure what to make of that but it’s worth me giving you a chance to explain yourself at least.”

..surprisingly solid logic.. careful crazy lady, I may have to start wondering if your sane after all?..
Now, can we go back to the whole ‘Granddaughter’ thing please?!

“Who ARE you? You’re not old enough to be a Grandmother, you barely look older then my MUM!”
She smirked at me and tossed her draping blonde hair over her shoulder arrogantly.

“Not bad for a Tri-centenarian really? I’m the current ‘scary old matriarch’ of the Garnier family, ask anyone, they’ll all agree with me.”

Hell, I’LL agree with you psycho-lady.
You don’t have to convince me you’re scary!
..bloody lightning mages, I swear their always so temperamental!..

“The real question here is who.. or what are you?”

Ah.. yeah.. should have seen that one coming really shouldn’t I?
What’s the best way to explain this..

“um.. if you asked me a week or so ago I would have told you that I was Alistor Cooper?”
My brand didn’t trigger this time.
Lies are all about context, the fact that I didn’t say I’m Al NOW is apparently enough, for the brand at least.
“Due to a chain of events involving my awakening, partly caused by my friend John, I got changed into this new body by old magic and some asshole messed with mum’s head to make her think I’d always been this way as her ‘long lost’ daughter Arista.”

The psycho-lady claiming to be my Grandmother despite her apparent age frowned at me.
“Who’s John?”

Wha..oh.. yeah, she’s been hearing things from mum hasn’t she?

“John is Max’s real first name for this incarnation.”
Her eye twitched a little and she stared at me hard for some reason.

“I forgot your friends name was Max.. and yours is apparently now Arista, although Sarah called you ‘Hannah’ earlier for some reason.. I don’t suppose there’s a reason you and this ‘John’ go by the names Max and Arista that I should know about.. is there?”
She looked at me with a knowing look that said I wasn’t fooling her in the slightest.

It’s kind of rude to ask for a mage’s true name directly, you have to come at it naturally in conversation like she’s just attempted to do.

I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
Considering mum has that whole story about ‘Arista’ saving her ancestors from unjust imprisonment, maybe it’s not such a good idea to tell the psycho-lady that I’m-

Wait!
.. sorry.. something just clicked in my head..

It’s not as clear as I’d like it to be but.. didn’t Dante say something about Arista freeing a load of werewolves in England eight-hundred years ago?

.. holy crap..
“you danced with the pack in the dark moon’s light”

I remember doing it!.. sort of..
When he said it at the time the whole thing felt kind of familiar.
It’s not much clearer now but I’ve got a lot more experience with vague past-life memories now, there’s definitely SOMETHING there which usually means whatever people are saying is at least partly true in some way.

The psycho-la.. you know what?.. I kind of can’t deny it anymore.
It’s not like I don’t have experience with mages making themselves look younger than they really are, John’s doing it at the moment somehow after all.
Overnight he went from looking like he was in his mid-twenties to looking nineteen at best.

ANYWAY!
My Grandmother, formerly referred to as ‘the psycho-lady’, seemed to be staring at me with wide shocked eyes.

“You’re really her aren’t you?.. that line.. my mother spoke it a lot during Metanoia preparation, she believed that the tradition started from Lady Arista freeing her parents and the others on the night of the bloody moon. She would gather the children every year to tell the story of it.. I thought it was just a story?..”

Oh..crap..
She’s looking at me with those eyes!
The kind of eyes that see me differently, see me as something beyond human.

A lot of Hub staff have shown me those eyes lately.. although they usually seem to have a healthy dose of fear mixed in.
Gran seems to be watching me with more reverence and awe then fear.

“uh.. I’m kind of.. um..”
How do you tell someone who’s looking at you like you’re a goddess in human form that you’re not that person?.. sort of..
“Okay, while I’m the newest incarnation of ‘Arista’-”
She gasped loudly making me hesitate for a second but I need to make sure she knows what’s going on before she tells anyone else.
“-I’m not ACTUALLY her.. my awakenings kind of went wrong..”

Her mouth snapped shut with a painful sounding ‘click’ of her teeth.

“Awakening-s.. as in more than one?”
I nodded with a wince.
She let out a gusty breath.

With a surprisingly smooth movement she pulled a chair from the side of the bed over and threw herself into it heavily.
“Okay.. maybe you should start from the beginning. This feels like it’s going to be an interesting story if nothing else.”

What is it with people wanting to start from some nebulous ‘beginning’ lately?
She probably knows more about some of my past-incarnations lives then I do from the sound of it!

Oh.. whatever..
I’ve already done this once lately, it shouldn’t be too hard to go over it all again, right?

..here goes..
“Well it started when we were kids..”

======

Damn my stupid weak eyes!

She wrapped a comforting arm around my shoulders and rocked me a little.
“It’s okay Hannah. You’re with family now, we protect our own.”
She bent her head a little and kissed the top of my head gently.

I tried to stem the flow of embarrassing tears with a big huff but they don’t want to stop!

I’m an adult damn it!
I shouldn’t be crying!
Al wouldn’t cry like this!

No matter what I do I’m always so weak!

“shh.. it’s okay Hannah. You’re home, you’re safe.”
She rocked me a bit more and I could feel body go slack.

Hearing her say it like that.. it feels like the weight on my shoulders is a bit lighter.
I dunno.. maybe it’s just me being desperate at this point but it feels like I can trust her on this one?
..call it a gut instinct I guess?..

“This all certainly explains a few things I’ve observed with your mother over the last few days.”
I twitched my head against her shoulder in interest but my eye’s haven’t stopped leaking yet so I didn’t pull away, just listened instead.

“We’ve not heard from her for so long, your Grandfather didn’t react well to her marrying the Cooper boy, he always said ‘nothing good can come from marrying a seer’s kin’.. hard headed old coot never did accept Kennedy’s problem well.”

Her arms around me tensed a little but it wasn’t something I’ve done causing it so I didn’t worry about it too much.
Her hug feels too nice to push away from at the moment.

“She was always closest to Joe, he’s kept us up to date about you all to some degree but not much.. then she turned up out of nowhere using her personal beacon.. she was distraught, she was worried that she was a bad mother.. that she would make the same mistakes with ‘her little Ari’ that she did with Alistor..”
Her head bowed a little and she sighed heavily.
“It took me a while to see what was going on.. how someone could mess with her mind so much is beyond me. When the others found out I had to restrain Grace from going on the hunt for your father.”
My head perked up a little again.

Why would she be mad at dad?

Gran, that still feels weird to say, she seemed to be lost in thought for a moment.
Whatever it was, it wasn’t a nice thought though.

“You said about this ‘Storyteller’ and what he did to your mothers mind but that’s just the tip of the iceberg Hannah.. someone’s been messing with your minds for a long time.”
She huffed a deep breath and leaned in a little more to stare down at me seriously.
“It’s not just your mother, you and Sarah show major signs of memory modification too.”

Sarah too?.. did John.. I mean.. he was the one modifying MY memories.. right?

“Was it John?”
Pull off the Band-Aid in one go.
If it’s John I can get off my ass and just go kill him now!

He KNOWS Sarah is off limits!

She looked surprised that I would ask that for some reason.
“No, not that I can tell at least, while he DID cast some minor modifications on you specifically they’re nothing compared to some of the ones I can see.”

Oh..
..oh.. not good.. not good at all!..

“I cleared up what I could for your mother, gave her some stability back and took away the compulsions she had for ‘Arista’.. I couldn’t fix everything though.”
She winced.
This isn’t going to be good either is it?
“The reason we assume this is all your fathers doing is a mix of his family’s history and the very specific memories that were tampered with.”

I almost don’t want to ask.
It feels like there’s a pit open where my stomach should be.
Dad wouldn’t.. what could he have done?..

“You don’t remember this, your mother doesn’t either consciously.. but you had another sister, long ago, your mother named her ‘Arista’.. but she died.”

It felt like the world stalled.

That can’t be true.
I’d know if it was true!

I’ll admit my memory isn’t exactly perfect lately, especially with my past-incarnations.. but I couldn’t forget something like that!

“You would have been about six when she was born, she didn’t last long on this mortal coil.. we believe your father covered things up, initially to protect your mother from the grief but things got out of hand.”
Her arm moved and she started stroking a calming circle on my back but it didn’t help much.
It feels like I can’t breathe.
I had a little sister.. and she died.. a.. and Dad.. oh powers, what the hell did he DO?!..
“Your mother’s brain took the made up history that this ‘Storyteller’ gave her and found a way to reconnect the memories she had of your sister’s early years, no memories are ever truly removed.. just disconnected.”

My breath hitched in my chest and it came out sounding like more of a sob then a gasp of air.

“She had so many plans and dreams for her ‘little Arista’, when you came along her brain couldn’t decide what fantasy’s to believe.. I managed to clear that up for your sake as much as hers. While every mother want’s her little girl to be a princess at some point, your mother is usually a lot more even minded about that sort of thing.”

She squeezed me a little and breathed in as if she had more to say.
Please don’t let there be more.. I don’t think I can handle more right now..

“From the looks of it your father’s been in contact with you all semi-regularly since he left you, every time he’s removed your memories of the visit when he was done or modified them to take him out of them if he can.”

..Dad.. Dad wouldn’t.. why would he?..

“Sarah got out of it pretty easily with just a few days a year missing, your mother wasn’t too bad either although she had quite a few compulsions on her which I think may have been impairing her decision making, especially when it involved ‘Alistor’.”

She squeezed again.
..please stop..

“You’re the one who got the worst of it all.. I honestly don’t know how you’re still sane with all of the conflicting compulsions and chopped up memories you must have..”
She squeezed again.
“If anything your awakenings being unusual may actually be the thing that’s saved you, I’ve seen people suffering from compulsions before.. ones which seem pathetic when compared to yours and they tended to develop brain aneurisms that killed them due to the stress on their brains.”

I can’t.. I..
PLEASE.. no more..

I pulled my knees up to my chest and sunk my head onto them.
She tried to hug me again but I shrugged her off and pushed my forehead down harder.

After a moment of indecision she sat back in her chair and stared at me sadly instead of trying again.

“Joe is distraught. He’s had a few minor modifications done to himself too, mostly to hide your sister’s existence, but we are just as much at fault as he is for not noticing this sooner. He never brought little Arista up and.. to my shame.. we kind of forgot about her after a while.”
She cringed.
“Please understand, we so rarely got to hear about your mother’s life and all Joe could talk about was you and Sarah to the point that it became.. a bit annoying honestly.. we all just kind of let him rant about you and ignored him to a degree, after a while..”

She sounded pretty disgusted with herself now.
I just feel sorry for Uncle Joe, he’s a nice guy it’s not fair people ignore him like that because he’s a bit different..

“It wasn’t until your mother came to me for help and I looked into it all that I realised he honestly didn’t know little Arista had ever existed, that set off alarm bells in my head, the more I looked into it the worse things seemed to get.”
She shifted uncomfortably; I could hear the chair creek in protest.
“I’m sorry for how I reacted earlier. I had so many theories about what you could be here for, I honestly believed that you could have been the source of all this mess effecting your family for a while.. then you turned up and within ten minutes you set off a seemingly benign magical bomb on our doorstep.. I jumped to conclusions..”

Who wouldn’t if you put it like that?.. I definitely would!
I probably wouldn’t threaten the person with a full frontal lobotomy by lightning while holding them paralysed in a dark room without properly questioning them first.. but everyone has their own methods I guess?

I sniffed my runny nose and rubbed my forehead against my knees a little more.

Can this day get any worse?.. first John ruins my safe space, then I fight with mum, and THEN I mess up my magic several times, scaring the hell out of my newfound werewolf family.. and now this..
..I kind of just want to go to bed and get the day over with at this point..

What time is it anyway?
Is it even Friday still?

My head moved up to stare at Gran and my mouth opened to ask but I stalled.
Am I really going to ask such a silly question right now?

We just had a truly heart-breaking conversation that changes the way I can look at my life in so many little but important ways.. and the first words out of my mouth would have been ‘is it Saturday yet?’.

I NEED to work on my impulse control.
Al was always good at that.

Since my awakening I’ve had little to no impulse control worth mentioning.
It’s gotten me in enough trouble as it is already!

“Are you hungry? Dinner’s almost cooked and I’m sure everyone would be happy to see you again.”
She must have seen the indecision on my face to even ask that out of nowhere.

I smiled at her weakly but nodded in response in the end.

Anything so we don’t have to face more serious talk.
It feels like I can’t take much more before I’ll just snap!

I’m not even sure if I can handle what I’ve learnt ALREADY, let alone hearing more.

Her hand came up and she gently wiped my probably tearstained cheek.
“Why don’t you get cleaned up and I’ll show you where the dining room is?”

The prospect of using another bathroom, possibly facing a new shower monster really doesn’t appeal to me at the moment.
Feeling a little naughty for doing it I dipped into my lines and swirled the excess magic inside me just enough to give my skin a slight golden glow for a second.

She jolted away from me for a moment but seemed to realise what I was doing after a moment and calmed down with a slight smile on her lips.

The magic faded and I gave off a relieved sigh.
It feels good to be clean and fresh again.
I can’t say the happy, warm feelings that come with the package when I use my diversion are unwanted at the moment either.
I need some cheering up if I’m going to be facing my new family so soon after finding out all of THAT..

“That’s a truly impressive effect, I’ve noticed some changes around the house since your explosion but put them down to my imagination.. I take it you have some kind of diversion on your magic?”
I nodded cautiously.
“What is it meant to do? I can see that it has some kind of cleaning aspect to it just from how it’s affected you and the house in general but still..?”

I couldn’t help the little smile that spread across my lips.

I like this diversion.
It’s a headache.. literally at times.. but you can’t argue with results and it really DOES help me keep the excess magic in my system down to a manageable level.

“I’m not sure what it’s meant to do honestly. Edith, a woman who trains me when she feels like it, put it in place after getting frustrated that I was being a bit slow to see what she wanted me to do.. I’ve not really had time to go back and ask what she did.”
My smile slipped into more of a thoughtful frown for a moment.
“As far as we can work out it’s some kind of ‘fix-it, heal-it’ spell. If somethings broken the magic seems to repair it, if someone’s hurt the magic heals them, if somethings dirty it sorts that out too.”

Her eyes got almost impossibly wide as my explanation rambled on.

“Simply amazing.. the amount of power that must be involved in such a spell, Edith you say?.. that wouldn’t happen be Edith Shysie would it?”
She stared at me thoughtfully with an amused look in her eyes.

I dunno really?.. I’ve never asked what Edith’s surname is, never asked Fena’s either now that I think about it..
They both just go by their first names and it’s never really been an issue before?

She must have seen the indecision on my face again because she continued.
“Crazy sounding little gremlin with a big stick she uses to hit people when she feels like it?”

I burst out laughing so hard it hurt my chest a bit from the force of it.
She caught me completely off guard there but that’s DEFINITELY Edith!

I struggled to get my laughter under control while nodding repeatedly much to Gran’s amusement.

“She’s an old friend, it’s been a long time since I last saw her though, didn’t know she was still kicking around honestly..”
There was a fond smile on her lips that made me feel happy just from seeing it.
There’s probably a story behind that look but today’s not the day to ask about it if there ever is one.
“I didn’t think she was taking on new students either? I’ll have to contact her and see how your trainings been going.”

That fond smile refused to leave her lips as she looked at the closed curtains over my shoulder thoughtfully.

“Well!”
She pushed herself up from the chair and offered me a hand up.
“Let’s go show the others that I’ve not killed you or something shall we?”

I laughed along with her little grin.
She’s a lot less scary when she’s not threatening me with lightning.
The happy feelings rolling around inside me are probably helping too.

For once I’m kind of glad they’re there.

======

“The door on the left is the parlor.. not much use for that these days, and HERE is the dining room.”

We came to a stop in front of some thick oak doors.
I couldn’t tell you where they are compared to a landmark of some sort, I’ve not really got my bearings around here yet, even after the impromptu tour.
There was a rumble of conversation coming from inside at least.

It’s stupid, I don’t know why, but I hesitated at going inside.
The idea of facing them all.. and Sarah.. and MUM..
They don’t know.. don’t know about Dad and the memory charms.. about little Arista.

How can I go in there and act like everything’s okay?.. like nothing’s changed?!

I spent most of the ‘tour’ around the house in a bit of a daze honestly.
I couldn’t tell you where half the rooms I was shown are at this point.
Gran didn’t seem to notice, or if she did she didn’t comment on it at least.

How am I going to sit there eating dinner with Mum and Sarah like this?
They don’t know about this.. this girl.. our sister..
Another sister that I didn’t know about.. an.. and Dad?!
The idea of Dad visiting us and just TAKING the memory’s away like that!

How can I.. I can’t just..

“It’s okay Hannah.”
Warm arms came around my shoulders.

I almost jumped out of my skin in surprise.
Gran squeezed me tightly for a moment and then eased off.

“Do you want to eat upstairs? I can tell them all that you’re still recovering from your little magic outburst earlier.”
..Powers bless her.. it’s honestly SO tempting too..

NO!
I TOLD myself I’d stop running from things!

I can’t just run away if somethings scary or upsetting, that’s just pathetic little Hannah talking!
I need put my foot down and stand my ground from now on!

What can I..
..well.. couldn’t hurt right?..

As Gran stepped back from our quick reassuring hug I dipped into my lines and brought roughly a lines worth of magic to the surface.
It was more difficult than I expected to contain the surge of power begging for release that came with it so I cut the venting short and just released what I could.

======

A golden mist formed up around me making Gran gasp.
It only lasted a second but that’s enough.
Although.. I think I let a bit more power out then I intended to?.. I can feel it bubbling inside me..

..That doesn’t matter though...
I can feel a giggle bubbling up in my chest too.

Nothing matters.
Everything’s good!

“Hannah?.. are you okay?”
Gran sounds a bit worried.

She’s so silly.
Everything’s awesome!

I hopped over and gave her a tight hug.
The giggle welled up again and finally came out of my lips.

For a moment that felt somehow wrong.. I shouldn’t giggle? I don’t giggle!

I.. if I don’t then.. Mum.. Sarah..
..Dad..

NO!
Giggles are fine!
Giggles are good..

The moment passed and I nuzzled my head into Gran’s shoulder a bit more.

She didn’t seem to want to hug me back for some reason.
She just looked at me strangely as if I was doing something really weird.

Just in case I actually WAS being weird I let her go and turned back to the dining room doors quickly to cover for it.

They look really pretty, there’s loads of patterns carved into them and everything.
I can smell.. ohh.. Food!
Foods good!

Before Gran could protest I pushed the doors open and posed dramatically with my hands on my hips.
Everyone’s conversations stopped as they turned to look at me.

It’s weird that there’s pretty much only women in here right?
Jessie’s here but the boys aren’t?

Oh well, it can be that important.

John’s here anyway so it’s not like it’s a complete.. uh..
..what’s the female equivalent of a ‘sausage fest’?..

..’Pita Party’ maybe?..

The idea of it made me laugh anyway.
My hands fell from my hips to drape lazily at my side.
There’s no point in holding the pose now, they all saw it already anyway.

It looked like John and Sarah were racing each other to see who could reach me first.
I giggled and threw my arms open wide to hug the winner.
Sarah got there first so I clamped around her tightly and poked my tongue out at John.

He didn’t look upset like I’d expected him to be when he lost the race.
Aren’t losers meant to feel bad and stuff?

Sarah mumbled something in my ear but it tickled so leaned away from her and giggled.
She tried to lead me back out into the hallway for some reason.

Why would she do that?.. the foods just there!
I can see it!
I can SMELL it!
It smells sooo good!

I tried to let her go but SHE was holding onto ME now, a shove didn’t seem to make her let go either.
With an annoyed huff I put my hands on her shoulders and pushed my magic a little.

Just a minor numbing charm so she’ll let go, no biggie.

Both her arms flopped to her side seconds later.
That made me giggle again, naturally, they just look so silly flopping around like that!

She staggered away from me with wide eyes.
That looks fun!
I tried to make my eyes go wider but had to stop after a second because it hurt.

Is Sarah hurting her eyes?!
Oh no!
That’s not good!

My magic bubbled in my chest, I grabbed some and pushed it out.

..The gold dome is really pretty..
Everyone made a load of noise as it went off for some reason.. but it’s so pretty..

Sarah’s eyes stopped being all bulgy.

YAY!
I love my magic, it fixes stuff!
I love.. love my magic!

My arms came up to hug myself tightly.

It feels so good!
Maybe I should let out some more?!

My magic’s good.
It fixes things and it feels sooo good!

John walked towards me slowly.
I smiled at him nice and wide.

It hurt my cheeks after a second so I stopped and opened my arms to hug him instead.

He’s my John.
He can have a hug if he wants one!

John’s like to get hugs.. and they pay good too..

..wait, what?.. uh.. something.. Johns?..
Does John pay me?..no.. wha-

I heard a strange ‘click’ sound from my hand for some reason.
Do hand’s click?.. what..

..Is that.. a handcuff?..

My smile went wide again and I shot an amused look at John while tossing my hair.
“Ohh John, getting kinky?.. what are we playing, policeman and the whore?”
His mouth dropped open.

Someone at the table spit their drink everywhere.

I slid up to him and rubbed against his chest slowly.
John’s like that, I learnt that long ago.

You don’t become Meretrix to the third house of Rome without learning what John’s like!

..Wait!.. Have I ever even been to Rome?..
I..
Yes?.. No?..

oww.. my head hurts.. why would it..

No, definitely no.. I think?.. I can’t think straight!
Everything’s so good..
It’s.. it’s good.. right?..

Right, it’s good!

I rubbed my chest against him.
He’s so silly.
He’s standing so ridged!

You don’t get a prize if your all stiff!.. well.. not if ALL of you is at least..
“Come on John, you know you want to..”

He whimpered.. oh that’s just ADORABLE!

He sounds like a puppy.. a.. a puppy.. werewolf.. puppy..
I.. why.. this isn’t..
NO!
It’s good!
Everything’s good!

Nothing else matters, everything’s just good.

Someone grabbed my shoulder.
I growled low in my throat.
Without turning to see who it was I brushed them away with my hand.

They flew away from me and hit something loudly the moment I made contact with their skin.
You don’t interrupt me when I’m working a client, no-one likes it when someone gets too grabby at the bar.

My magic feels weird.. why is it going to my feet?..

Am I teleporting?
Oh! John must be taking us somewhere private!

I giggled and latched my arms around his neck to hold on tight.
I never used to get the John’s who could do magic working in the tavern!

..they like the clean girls and I’m anything but clean, damned proud of it too!..

I’ve heard so many stories though.. I heard they can do this THING with their tongues that will just blow your MIND!

======

My magic hit my feet at last and my arms went numb.
It felt like someone threw a bucket of ice water over my head.

My magic poured out of my feet making the area around us fresher.

The air smelt like mountains and clean water suddenly.
The metal cutlery shined bright and the food smelt SO much better.

My stomach rumbled for a moment but I could ignore it easily.
My head hurts.. what.. what happened there?

I wasn’t myself..
Did I.. did I really just try to seduce JOHN?..
..in front of my family?..

My cheeks flared up hard in embarrassment.

Before anyone could say anything I sprinted out of the room.
John gave off an indignant squawk when my shoulder almost pulled out if it’s socket yanking him behind me by the handcuffs connecting us.
He managed to recover fast enough to not fall flat on his face but he was still staggering to chase after me as I ran.
We shot past Gran who watched us go with a slightly stunned look on her face.

======

“Hannah, slow down!”

I ignored him and rounded another blind corner.
I lost track of where we were going after the third corridor we entered.
Somewhere on the west side of the house, I know that much.

“Hannah!”

With a huff John pushed himself ahead of me with his longer legs and turned sharply so I ended up crashing into him.
I saw it coming but didn’t react fast enough and landing on my butt, hard.

He quickly bent down to make sure I was okay.

When his arms came towards me I frantically tried to bat them away but he grabbed my wrists and stared calmly into my eyes.
I managed a few more jerky tugs before giving up, collapsing forward to rest my forehead on his chest and panted to myself exhaustedly.

“I’m sorry John. I didn’t mean to.. it wasn’t ME.. I didn’t.. I..”

He gently shushed me and patted my hair.
It felt really nice for a moment.
I was almost lulled to sleep by the repetitive motion.

..I always feel tired after venting my magic like that..

No! I have to stay awake!
What on earth made me think that any of THAT was in ANY way a good idea?!

I wasn’t even close to being in the right frame of mind to have actual control over my magic to such a minute scale!
I never use my diversion again so quickly after I vent it, the pleasure effect seems to multiply with repeated use from what I’ve seen.

I panicked again?.. the idea of facing Mum and Sarah after what I found out and not being able to tell them..

It was STUPID though!
I struggle to vent only a single lines worth of magic at the best of times!
Let alone when I’m recovering from a huge blast beforehand and I’m not thinking clearly!

While we’re on the subject, just what the HELL was going on in the dining room?!
It felt like my usual weird giggly effect at first but then something in my head just.. shifted?

I was still me.. I think?..
I just.. at first I just felt a little weird but I didn’t want to let go of the happy feeling.. if I did I’d have probably fallen apart the moment I looked at Mum or Sarah.. then my head clicked and.. I think..
I think one of my past-incarnations took over somehow?

I think I remember which one too!
Her memories feel unusually clear now actually.

It was Dexi!
The Roman ‘high-class call-girl’ that represented the Brutes on the council of my incarnations.. the one who disappeared, making Ellie panic so much earlier..

She’s there still?
She’s not gone!
I can FEEL her in my head.

She.. I think she’s merged with me?..

Is this what it feels like for a normal awakened mage?!
This is so weird!

It’s like.. she’s there but she’s just a part of me now.. a REAL part of me, not like the others where they’re still separate to a degree.

Ugh! This is so hard to explain!

Just.. it’s one of those things.
The bits of magic that are hard to explain but make SO much sense when you experience them for yourself!

Her memories are almost as clear as my ‘Alistor’ memories seem to be now.

My cheeks started heating up again as I concentrated on her thoughts for a moment.
She was a rather.. active girl.

You don’t become a consort to one of the Nobel houses of Rome, at such a young age, without practice.. so much practice.

======

“Hannah?.. Hannah, are you drooling?”
Johns voice snapped me out of my dirty-minded daze.

“GAH!”
He’s right in my face!

My hands came up to push him away but stopped short when the chain on the handcuff stalled one of them.

I want to be angry at him for slapping these bloody cuffs on me again.. but the venting effect of them seems to have been the thing that brought me out of my ‘Lusty Dexi’ mind-set.. the moment they went off..

I wonder if he can make a modified version of these cuffs that don’t block my magic completely?
They’d actually be useful at taking away the giggly problem from my otherwise really useful magic diversion if he could!

“Keep calm Hannah.. can you remember where you are?”
I shot him an annoyed look for that but he seemed entirely too serious.
My magic senses feel weird, I can’t really get a clear read on him, even from this distance.
“It’s a simple question, do you know where you are?”

I glared at him for a moment but gave it up with a huff.

“We’re at my mother’s, family’s hidden home.. in some woods outside Salem?”
I don’t get why he’s even asking.
It’s not like I’d forget THAT considering I just made a fool of myself in front of my new family!

He let out a long sigh and rested his chin on top of my head in relief.

It felt really nice.
For a moment I wanted to just sink into him and sleep.
..I’m so tired..

“Why didn’t you tell me you were going through an integration cycle?”

It took a monumental effort to lift my head up to look at him again but none at all to glare at him.
Arista’s ‘resting bitch-face’ is useful for looking annoyed without trying at least.

“If I’d known, we could have taken some precautions. We’re just lucky it was a benign one this time, imagine what could have happened if she’d been violent or worse?”

What’s he going on about?
What’s an ‘integration cycle’?
It sounds like he knows what happened at least?

“What’s that?.. I’ve never had that happen before, what’s an ‘integration cycle’?”

His eyes went a little wide and he stared at me a bit harder in confusion.
“How can you not know?”

I glared at him again.
It’s easier then talking at the moment.. I’m so TIRED..

“It turns out my Dad’s probably an asshole.”
He snorted.
It’s hardly news to him I guess, I ranted enough times about my Dad to him when we went for long drives to nowhere together back in high school.
“My Gran, the Lady we ran past outside the dining room, she thinks that my Dad’s been visiting us semi-regularly and then memory wiping it from us all.. she also thinks he’s been doing more memory tampering, to me specifically, in the meantime..”

My legs gave out and spread across the floor lazily, partly from exhaustion but mostly due to the effort of keeping them bent being annoying.
My head feels heavy.

“You’re not convinced?”

I.. I don’t know?..
..Maybe?..

She seems to know what she’s talking about but.. I didn’t even know my Dad was a MAGE let alone capable of memory wiping us all!
On top of that, while I can see him catching Sarah, Mum and even ME off guard enough to mess with our memories.. he’d never have caught Al off guard as easily?

I still have my memories from Al and they FEEL like they’re mine but with some perspective..
Al was kind of an obnoxious, paranoid weirdo.. I don’t know if that’s honestly a bad thing though?

I doubt he would have survived even half the things he did on missions if he wasn’t like that.
It’s not really paranoia if they ARE out to get you after all, is it?

“I didn’t even know Dad was a mage.. I don’t think he could have caught Al off guard either.”

John looked at me weirdly for some reason.
..stop talking Hannah.. sleep instead.. I’m so tired.. can’t think right..
I just want to lay my head on John and sleep!

..sleep would be so much easier then dealing with all of this stuff..

“What do you mean he wouldn’t have caught ‘Al’ off guard?”
I groaned and flopped my head onto his chest.

“Hannah?”

Not now John.
Let me sleep.
..you’re so warm..

He shook me a little but I just groaned again and resettled on him in response.
Why can’t he just let me sleep?!

“Hannah?.. what did you mean-

My head flopped forward a little more and I lost track of what he was saying.
..I’m so tired..

======

“..uhgggg..”
I feel like crap.

What time is it?
Where am I for that matter?

“Finally.”

That sounds like Sarah?
Why’s she here.. where ever ‘here’ is?

“Are you actually awake Han? We need to talk.”

Oh doesn’t THAT just sound like a barrel of fun.
Nothing good comes from Sarah wanting to ‘talk’.

It took all my willpower to force myself into a sitting position.
My elbows slipped a little as I propped myself up against the pillows but I got there eventually.
Good thing the rooms’ dark, I’m not sure I could handle daylight right now.

“John explained to us what happened, no-one blames you for the way you acted, especially when Granma stepped in to back him up on it all.”
Well that’s a relief.. the only problem being I have NO idea what they explained..
“It’s about five in the morning, we’ve had someone watching over you all night in case you had another episode, I’m just the lucky one on the late shift.”

Thanks for the information Sarah but can we possibly go back to the whole ‘John explaining things’ thing?

“What did John tell everyone?”
She looked at me weirdly but seemed to shrug it off after a moment.

“He said about you going through your integration cycle. He seemed a bit confused that you didn’t notice the signs and warn us honestly?”

There’s that phrase again!
What the hell is an ‘integration cycle’?
It doesn’t ring any bells in my head at all.

“..just to be clear, what’s an integration cycle again?..”
She shot me an annoyed look as if I was mocking her in some way but when I met her eyes with a blank look of confusion it softened a little.
Eventually she turned away with a huff.

“Awakened mages don’t just instantly know everything about their past-lives when they wake up, it takes time to integrate it all in. If it didn’t your brain would break.”
..That’s.. that’s right?.. I know that.. I think?..
“You’re a bit late to be integrating like this, John think’s it’s because of the gender difference between you and those memories. Now that you’re female, your brain can do what it was meant to from the start and begin bonding them properly into your mind.”

That feels right too.. I had to go through something like that when I was Al, after my first awakening.

My memories are so foggy for some reason?
..Is it because I’m not Al anymore.. or did Dad do this to me?..

That would make sense right?.. why else would he be changing my memories so much?

“You’re going to have these.. episodes.. for a while. The integration process goes in a loose cycle where some of the different personas in your head will merge with you over the course of a week or so, then your brain has to rest to prepare for the next load.”
..well that doesn’t sound good.. not good at all..

“John said you should have noticed erratic mood swings and headache’s as a warning sign that it was coming?..”

Why’s she staring at me like that?.. how was I supposed to know?!
It’s not like I have experience with this sort of thing!

How the hell am I supposed to know that the ‘erratic mood swings’ and ‘headaches’ I’m getting are because of this cycle thing I’ve never heard of before.. or I HAVE heard of.. or whatever?!
That’s not the important part!

I already know my memories of life before my second awakening are pretty messed up at the moment!

The key point is that I get those side effects ANYWAY!
I get headaches when I wake up after venting my magic with this new diversion and let’s not even GO into my emotions since my awakening!

Why don’t I remember this kind of thing though?!

I can recite the original Hebrew translation of the Old Testament from memory, despite never having learnt Hebrew or read the Bible.. but I can’t even remember something as simple as ‘how awakenings work’, despite having BEEN through two personally and who knows HOW many more in my past-incarnations!

This is so frustrating!!

Why can’t my brain just WORK for once!
Why can’t things be simple for ONCE!
Why.. why can’t I just be normal.. for once..

======

“Han?..”

Sarah shifted and pulled me into a hug.
I let out a ragged breath.

I’m not gonna cry again damn it!

My hand came up to wipe at my stupid eyes and something bulky on my wrist bumped my cheek in the process.
I focused on it for a moment and couldn’t help but giggle at it.

As if that was the last straw the flood gates opened and my eyes became blurry with tears.

They left the handcuffs on me..
They took them off while I was sleeping and put both ends of the cuffs on one of my wrists.

They don’t trust me!
They.. they can’t trust me.. I can’t trust ME!

I could do so much damage with magic!

Theses ‘episodes’.. what if it had been Greta who came out?..
She’d have killed John just for looking at her wrong!
..or the twitchy, loincloth wearing one that self-harms all the time, ‘Hol-leah’ I think her name was?

..oh powers.. what if I’d let Theodora out?!..

My breath wouldn’t come out properly.
I keep shaking.

I’m dangerous!

I thought it was bad before, when I was possibly a werewolf of some kind, but THIS!
I can do so much more DAMAGE with magic!

Sarah squeezed me tightly.
Why doesn’t this feel right?..
..Is she.. she’s tense?..

She’s never been tense while hugging me before!

Why is she..
Dexi?..
She was hugging me in the dining room and wouldn’t let go.. I put my hands on her and cast a spell from body to body..

..she’s scared I’ll do it again!..

CRAP! Forget THAT, the cuffs aren’t perfect!

I can cast spells through other people with physical contact still!
I did it to whoever put their hand on my shoulder; I launched them across the room!

The cuffs must look for the build-up around me that comes from casting magic into the environment instead of shifts in my magic itself?

It must be a hole John couldn’t close in the enchantments when he was making them.
The system that vents all my magic into the earth when I try to cast anything must somehow trick my body into treating the ground below my feet as a human body!

That’s GENIUS!..
..but flawed..

My eyes are still blurry but I got my hands between us and pushed Sarah back as much as I could.
I can’t tell what the expression on her face is but I can guess.

“Get out Sarah. Go find John.”
She started arguing but I just shouted over her.
“GET OUT! I need John!”

Her arms went limp around me.
I couldn’t see past my tears but she took in a ragged breath that said all I needed to hear.

She thinks I’m rejecting her!
She thinks I’m angry at her!

..I just wanted to protect her.. from me..

“Sarah I’m sorry, I-
She let go of me and practically ran out of the room, slamming the door behind her as she went.

That left me sitting alone in this dark room, tears spilling from my eyes and nothing but my thoughts for comfort.

I really messed that up.. I didn’t MEAN to hurt her.. I just need John to fix the cuffs!
If I can still use magic with them on.. if I’m a danger to Sarah, even with them on?..

..maybe.. maybe it’s better she’s angry at me now?.. maybe she’ll avoid me..

The thought of her avoiding me is bittersweet.
She’ll be safe, that’s the important part.. that doesn’t make it hurt any less though.

I rolled over on the bed and pulled my knees up to my chest to let the sobs out.
I want Sarah.. I WANT SARAH!

I.. I..

My tears seemed to flow even more but I didn’t bother wiping them away.
I hurt Sarah.
I hurt her to protect her from me but I hurt her.. I hurt Sarah..

..I hurt her..



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