from_the_west: ([mac lugh] alistar - the faerever)
[personal profile] from_the_west
stone & aly, near the beginning of stone's extended visit to tirnanog, during wwii.

"I think your father's house is full of ghosts." I grumbled through a mouthful of warm honey'd mush. Fuck, I'd missed this stuff. I reached for the honey-pitcher and added another layer of warm and sticky golden sweetness to my bowl.

"How's that?" Aly asked, passing up the mush ('cause he's crazy, but fuck it, that's more for me, right?) for a big helping of yesterday's boar. His dark brown hair was all tousled, but he looked bright enough, for all that he'd probably rolled out of bed (an' away from whoever's aura (or auras) that was still clingin' to his) only moments before. Mornings were much kinder to Aly than me, which so ain't fair, because he'd drank near twice as much of the wine, as far as I could tell. 'Course, I'd probably be brighter too, if not for the fuckin' ghost.

"At least one." I told him, real formally and sweetly. "Because it's keeping me from my sleep, Cousin. And my bath. And my having a quiet moment to myself to think."

"There's no ghosts here, Freyresson. You're eating too much honey." Aly gestured at the steaming bowl.

I glowered at him over it. "I'm eatin' as much as I ever did. Nothing's ever haunted me before."

"Really? Just the same amount?" Aly said in that bullshit tone that never failed to fuckin' rankle. "Huh. Must be our honey's stronger, then."

"This is the exact same damned Avalon-born, abal-blossom honey I used to eat at home--your maidre has the same taste for it as mine." I snarled. And yeah, maybe I did use a bit more of it than I used to, so what of it? I'd missed this stuff--I'm makin' up for lost time. There was a bit more of me than there used to be too, so that's fair enough, and Aly had best watch his mouth, with all his insinuatin'.

"Can't be exact same--honey can't be in two places at once, can it?" Aly's grin flashed sharper and brighter, like summer-storm lightning, before he went entirely to seriousness again. "There's no ghosts in my aithre's house."

"There's somethin' here, Aly." I insisted. "Maybe you don't notice, 'cause you ain't coming in from the outside, y'know?"

"And maybe you're a touch too sensitive, coming from the outside? It's a fravashi you're feeling, Cousin. They're everywhere, tá?"

"Nil hea. I've met your feather-brained messenger friends before. This ain't like that."

"Oh ho ho--so now you're the expert?"

I picked up my bowl, licked it clean, and wiped my face on my sleeve. "Didn't say that. But you can't make me see a pixie's dragon when it looks to be a fuckin' harpy, either."

"Fine. Share your ghost." Aly challenged.

"Ain't my ghost." I reminded him, mostly 'cause I really needed it not to be. I might be a bit out of practice, an' I sure as Hel ain't no artist, but I showed Aly as best I could. I spun him some dark colors, sparked with purple, crimson and gold, like a few glittering threads woven through a dark flannel, invisible except when it catches the ambient light; the secretive textures, and the strange feeling of being watched by something of predatory nature, one click of burning intensity, the next fleeting and gone, in flickers, like a guttering candle, or tattered gauze bandage in the wind, so quick that I thought I'd imagined it at first. There was also the lingerin' scent of perfume, something flowery. But I wasn't certain what sort of flowers, and I couldn't project scents anyways.

Aly tilted his head. "Where's this?"

"Where ever I'm at in the house, if no one else is there. A few times I started to speak, thinking someone was there, and it was gone--although now I feel it sometimes out of the house too, and there's noises at my window, like branches tapping." Or like the grave-cold hands of the wife or sister or daughter of someone one of my friends might have had a problem with, that'd swum the river and escaped from Hel, and maybe recognized me. We're closer to these afterlife type places then they are; more folks should burn their dead, y'know? That might make our lives a little less haunted, keep down the chances of oddly familiar, bloated, death blue faces floating up out of the dark water. I shook some of the working-spawned formality from my phrasing, along with the phantoms from my head. "I've gone to have a look a time or two, but there's nothin' there."

"I'm guessing you never tried openin' that window, tá?" Aly grinned.

I gave him a look. "I'm not a fucking idiot, Aly." I also didn't mention the part where I'd left a few gems and candies for it stashed by the place I'd felt her first and loudest, in the mostly disused back stairs that led to the wing me and Aly and the other royal sons and daughters lived in (The old guys in my aithre's hall said there was no better way to sweeten a lady's temper, if a lady's ghost or a lady deamhan had evil intent. And if it didn't sweeten, it might at least distract a bit, right? I ain't so sure about the ghost, but that same advice had worked real well with human ladies, so I figured I'd give it a shot.). The little gifts was gone, when I came back to see, and the nixies and 'chauns swore they'd never touched them, an' y'know, the 'chauns always look at me kinda funny, which I'd have a problem with, 'cept I could hear 'em a little too clearly after all this time away. Everything they was thinkin' was mostly along the lines of that it was "good to have the Norther prince back visiting, tá, 'specially after all the quiet, with most the rest of the children grown and off making their places in the world. At least this summer would not be so boring!"

It's good to know that I was at least as welcome as a travelin' circus.

"So ye say! Well come along then." Aly said, impaling the last of the meat on his dagger, gettin' up and leaving the table, holding his breakfast like a fuckin' scepter.

"Where we goin'?" I demanded.

"Gonna introduce ye to your ghost, tá? 'less you're a-frightened, of course."

"Not me!" I said, and for a dizzyin' second, we were kids, and there was way too much feelin' caught up in my gut. Still, I think I made the right choice. Sanctuary from the new world didn't need to remind me so hard of all the times I'd used Lugh's hall to hide from the old one. If things with me had changed so little, then better that I be here than in the equally-unchanged Alfheim, y'know? I'll write home. Hopefully Moms would understand. Understood or not, I ain't at all ready to set foot in the North. This is the closest I could handle, and maybe this was too close, too.

Didn't really have anywhere else I could go, though.

Aly gestured at me with his roast boar on a stick, as I got up, tryin' real hard to ignore the honey-pitcher. I ain't gonna try to carry it off. Honest. I'm thinkin' what I really want is some almond cookies, anyways, all covered with powdered sugar, like fresh snow in winter.

He led the way out, and we both ignored the labyrinthine path; we just scrambled straight through the garden like we always did when we was boys, crawling under anything we couldn't get over or through. Aly occasionally took another bite from his meat-scepter as we scrambled; aesir forbid that he actually, y'know, eat his breakfast before going questing, when he could do both at the same time. Eventually we got to a copse of trees standing marooned near the garden's center. Aly raised a hand, and then put a finger to his lips, to warn me to stand and be quiet and I really wanted to point out that if anybody gave us away it'd be him with all his fuckin' chewin'.

I stood and watched him circle and peer up at all the trees and wondered if he had enough sense to feel like a fool, or if I was doin' all the feelin' for both of us. Then he waved for me to come over an' he pointed up, like a human, instead of doin' it the sensible way an' re-directin' my attention. I squinted along the line of his hand, and first I didn't see what he was pointing at, and then I did--and then I really wanted to fuckin' punch him.

"...You dragged me out here to look at an owl?"

He just grinned and nodded, and took another bite of his meat and waited patiently until I put all the pieces together. And looked up again, and sure enough, I spotted the dim, hazy, dark aura that was otherwise near invisible due to the darkness of the tree, deep sleep, and the sheer unexpectedness of it.


"Tá, Freyresson?"

"What the fuck does your creepy-assed sister want with me?" I'd forgotten there even was a second Mac Lugh sister 'til now.

"Leave yer window open tonight, and she'll tell you herself." Aly said as he walked away down the garden path, still cheerfully brandishing what was left of his breakfast. I stared up at the sleeping owl for like, another half a minute, and then I turned and hurried after him.
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May 2010

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