“Oh Daniel. You’re so manly and sexy now!” Tabby chirped cheerfully, idly playing with the boy’s red hair.
“You think so? How convenient. I also find you to be a lovely and sexy woman! Shall we get married and have outrageous amounts of children?” Daniels said, leaning on the back of the pew as they sat in the rundown church.
“Okay, sure!” Tabby said with a smile. Before she knew it, she was dressed in a beautiful wedding gown and Lione was walking her down the aisle. The bridesmaids- Steph, Rinvak, and Zeren, looking quite annoyed at having being forced into a sexy pink dress- sighed happily. Eny flounced down the aisle before Tabby. At the end of the aisle, Madeline stood.
“Do you, Tabitha Brown, take Daniel Whatever-the-hell-his-last-name-is to be your squishy husband for all eternity?”
Tabby sat up, nearly bashing her forehead against Rinvak’s in her haste. She was still in the church, but she was not wearing the flowing white dress, and Rinvak was not wearing pink, and Daniel was, presumably, not currently her squishy husband for all eternity.
Rinvak stood over the other girl, her hands on her hips as Tabby yawned. “You do what, Tabby? Your mom?” From behind Rinvak, Daniel peered at the waking Tabby. Tabby blinked, before turning a ferocious shade of red as she recalled her dream, forcing her hands in front of her mouth to keep her from squealing as Rinvak moaned, “Really mature, Danny.”
“Why thank you,” Daniel said with a grin and a bow. “Anyway, Tabs; me, Flames, Blade, Steph and that Belle chick are heading out. You gonna come say good-bye? I know Blade and Flames and Steph could use some cheering up, and you’re pretty good at that kind of stuff.” Daniel explained, jerking his thumb over his shoulder, where Steph, Blade, Flames, and Belle could be seen milling about the entrance way.
Cheerfully, Tabby bounced out of the pew, throwing an arm around Rinvak- who protested loudly as Tabby nearly ripped her wings in half- and another around Daniel’s shoulders, pushing the pair towards the group at the entrance. The other members of the American Order could be seen coming to say their good-bye.
Tabby’s cheerful voice caught Stephanie’s ear as the younger Exorcist came barreling over, throwing her arms around Steph in a flying hug, nearly knocking her down. Steph shrieked a little bit as she fell backwards into the doorframe. Quickly and without thinking, Stephanie jerked out of Tabby’s hold.
The gesture, while intended as a cheery farewell, had brought back the feeling of IA in being thrown into bed and…
“Steph?” Tabby’s voice came nervously. The fourteen year old girl looked rather put off at being shrugged away. Immediately, Stephanie threw her arms around Tabby, pulling her into a hug, silently, burying her face into the other girl’s brown hair.
Damn him. Damn him. He’d not just stolen her innocence, but all the affectation in her life. If she couldn’t even hug Tabby without him automatically popping in her head, what else? What else could he have taken? What else?
As if to spite that fate, Stephanie roped one of her hands around Tabby’s head, slowly and methodically running her hand over the other girl’s hair in an almost familial gesture. “Bye Tabby. Take care, alright? We’ll see you guys in DC.” Tabby nodded into her shoulder. Steph smiled slightly, looking over Tabby’s shoulder to catch Blade’s eye as he glanced over, firmly shaking hands with Rinvak as he did so.
A strange half-smile played on her lips as she yet again buried her face in Tabby’s hair. If they were going to go toe Europe together, she would eventually have to talk to him- Daniel, Flames, and Belle would get sick of her if she just talked to them.
“It’ll be okay.”
Seeming to read Steph’s mind, Tabby drew back from Stephanie, looking earnestly up at the older girl and placing a hand on her shoulder. Sadly, Stephanie glanced over at Blade, who bent to say farewell to the youngest Bookwoman. “I hope so, Tabby.”
Tabby smiled lightly. “See ya in DC!” She said quietly, giving Stephanie another quick hug before bouncing away to say good-bye to Flames.
iv. in which lyra and eny put aside their differences for a second
Two hours later and Stephanie, Blade, Flames, Daniel and Belle were long gone, headed for their boat, and the church seemed just a bit too empty as Lyra stepped out of the elevator, totting large amounts of technical equipment she was pretty sure they would never need. The church was very nearly empty, despite the fact that Zane had everyone traipsing up and down the elevator, bringing items out to the curb that they would then carry to the train. Militant Musician was insane, as always.
“What’s up, Noisy Munchkin?” Lyra said, hitching her shoulders in an attempt to keep a holding on the doohickey in her arms as she leaned into one of the pews in the back row, where Eny was currently seated, her legs curled up beneath her as she leaned against the back. The young girl glanced at the elder, sniffling a bit, but hardening her gaze.
“Go ‘way Lyra,” Eny said weakly, wiping her nose on the back of her hand. Lyra raised an eyebrow.
“Alright, if that’s what you want,” Lyra said with a shrug, dropping one of the mechanical wonders in her arms.
“Don’t drop that!” Eny burst out, turning around quickly to do what she enjoyed most: berate other people. With a “Jeez, sorry!” Lyra bent to retrieve it. “Give it to me.”
“Say ‘please’,” Lyra teased cheerfully, reaching to ruffle Eny’s hair with her free hand.
“…Please,” Eny said venomously, batting Lyra’s hand away. Lyra smiled widely, placing the mechanical object on the pew before Eny. The younger girl examined the item, running her skeptical eye over it. “See, look, that’s broken! That’s why you don’t drop things,” She lectured, pointing at some problem Lyra couldn’t see. “Here, I guess I’ll fix it…”
With that, Eny was to work, pulling a screwdriver from the pile of equipment Lyra held. Silence filled the church for a rare few moments. “You really love doin’ that kind of stuff, dontcha?” Eny jumped at Lyra’s voice as the elder female sat, peering at Eny’s fingers as the worked quickly. Eny shrugged.
“Well, sure! I’m wonderful at it, absolutely genius,” Eny said humbly- yeah right- continuing to work. “And, besides, usually no one with an inferior intellect bothers me when I do my thing. Apparently, you are the exception to the rule. We-Well, ‘cept F-F-F-Ferm-m-m-y-y-y…” Almost at a frightening speed, tears began pouring from Eny’s eyes as she worked on the broken doohickey. “H-H-He used to si-i-i-it with me when I wo-r-r-r-ked and meow real c-c-cute like…”
The lapse in grammar usually would have set Eny off on a rampage, but now all she could do was cry. Lyra let the items she’d been holding fall to the floor, and Eny wasn’t in the mood to object through her sobs.
“Shh… C’mon, Noisy Munchkin,” Lyra slid over, taking Eny’s head in her hands, forcing the girl to meet her eyes. “It’ll all work out, alright?” Eny sniffed. “It’s gonna be alright.”
Tabby sighed. “Where’s Riena?” She said, exasperated. They were all ready to leave, and the other girl was missing. “I’ll go find her,” She assured Rinvak, unloading her bag onto Rinvak, who protested loudly as Tabby headed back into the building.
“Ri-en-a!” Tabby called, heading through the building. It was no surprise where she found her- Zeren’s old hospital room, clenching his Innocence. Silent tears streamed down the girl’s face as she looked up at Tabby, before she hurriedly wiped them away.
“Time to go?” It wouldn’t have sounded so sad if Riena’s voice hadn’t broken at the end. Tabby merely nodded. Riena sighed, and stood, beginning to walk out the door. When she passed Tabby, Tabby spoke.
“When my brother died, Zeren told me… that when Shia d-died, he cried for two weeks. If I-I could cry less for my bro-brother, then I was stronger then h-he was,” Tabby ventured carefully, willing herself not to cry as she recalled the pain of losing Edward and the raw hurt of Zeren’s recent death. “I-I loved my brother. I loved Z-Zeren, and I know you-you did. Bu-But we’ve got people here, right?”
Quietly, Riena nodded, taking a deep breath.
“You gonna take h-his challenge?” Tabby said, taking the other girl’s hand and pulling her down the hallway. “By the way,” Tabby said, halting and smiling slightly. “The new minimum’s twelve days, cu-cuz…” She swallowed. “On the twelfth night, I didn’t cry. I’m stronger than Z-Zeren was.”
Riena was silent, a slight smile playing on her lips. Grinning, Tabby turned sharply, dragging Riena along. “Then c’mon! We’re going to Washington!”
Rinvak sighed. “Jeez, Zane, is all this stuff really necessary?” She hefted a heavy amount of luggage onto the overhead rack. It groaned under the pressure.
“I’m afraid I missed the part where I asked for your useless opinion,” Zane said simply, ushering Ying into one of the compartments.
“Can’t you just drop dead in some hole?” Rinvak groaned, placing the medicines Ying had handed off to her on another shelf.
“That would make it far too easy on you,” Zane retaliated with a wicked grin.
“I really dislike you.” Rinvak slid into one of the compartments she was to share with Madeline and Ying. “I hate that man,” She reiterated as she sat down, arranging herself into a comfortable position. Madeline narrowed her eyes.
“I don’t like him one bit,” She said, glancing at the shut door, from where Zane could be heard herding Eny, Tabby, Riena and Lyra into one of the compartments, informing them that, “The three of them are small, you’ll fit.”
Ying nodded slightly. Rinvak swore venomously at the door.
Eny and Reina were both asleep when Zane came around, handing out the new uniforms. Riena was leaning on Tabby’s shoulder, and Eny had collapsed across Lyra’s lap- neither was particularly pleased with the arrangement, but waking the pair seemed impossible as Zane stepped in. “Tabby’s, Lyra’s… I guess we’ll have to commission another one for this kid, right?” He didn’t even look up as her tossed the pair their Exorcist uniforms, closing the door behind him, tactlessly making a point to say, “Nobody look in there; there’s woman changing,” rather loudly.
“Git,” Lyra said, sliding Eny off her lap and standing to change into the new uniforms. Tabby laughed and yawned, nearly asleep herself on top of her agemate, Riena. Her new uniform was pulled up against her like a blanket.
They weren’t all that different: they were still black; they still had the rose cross, but there was something different about them that didn’t have to do with the design. Was it that new clothes smell, or perhaps the lack of rips and tears and stains? Or was there something in them, something in DC? Lyra smiled lightly as she looked at herself in the new uniform, then down at the younger girls. Tabby was asleep now, her head resting on the compartment wall. Eny had taken over Lyra’s seat in her sleep. Riena’s head had banged to the window.
Smiling deviously, Lyra considered their reactions when they woke up with big, marker glasses on their faces as she uncapped a Sharpie.
“They’re a bunch of trouble makers, Renee! Complete morons! Why the hell did I let you bring me here!?!”
“And that makes me perfect for their leader! Besides, it’ll be alright. Just watch.”
Stepping past the White House, the pair of black clad persons could not have looked entirely commonplace, their long capes flowing behind them. When anyone approached them, the female just flashed them a piece of paper, and they moved aside. The male gave them all a menacing glare, though, and the paper was rarely needed.
“Here it is!” The female said cheerfully as the came to a stop before the new American Black Order Headquarters.
Down at the train station, one chugged quietly into the station.
first off, i want to say that i love, love, love this chapter
the characters' interactions especially tabby and daniel were perfect imo. the teeny-boppers' dreams still live in such a horrible time. i can totally see the fact that stephanie is still traumatized and rinvak's hatred for zane is still strong. it's nice to know that the characters finally have closure for the old hq and for zeran's death. the new character is intriguing and sounds like fun to write ^^
awesome, awesome chapter!!
ps you have no idea how much worse my character's luck is going to be in my chapter.
credit to the amazing GrayFoxx for this amazing sig ^.~