Soothsayer, 10

In Your Hour of Need, You’ll Often Find that Mysterious Strangers Will Show up out of Nowhere to Help

Ao3 Link

Jail sucked, actually.

It was stupid to think about how cold and dark and smelly and crowded it was, because of course it was all those things; it was a jail and it wasn’t supposed to be nice. There were a bunch of other guys in the cell with Mads. All Narwhal Junction locals, half of them avoided him and the other half thought he could rescue them.

Mads shivered, sitting on his cape and leaning against the room’s first wall, which was the one farthest from the bars. Letting the guards arrest him in his uniform had been a great idea to make sure everyone got angry about it, but it sure had left him with no fucking clothes to wear in a freezing jail cell for four days. Not even the food was warm.

They hadn’t executed him yet, but his advocate hadn’t shown up either, and that was no surprise. He hadn’t bothered calling for one, not after what Maple Song had overheard him say. There was no point in asking Dawn Thunder to come help him when the Sunwood Pack had no doubt repudiated ever knowing him by now. Mads didn’t even care if they told everyone he was a fraud; leaving Narwhal Junction would be easier than staying near them for the rest of his life now that they knew what he’d done to them.

Assuming he got out, of course, which he wouldn’t if the Imperials had their way. Executing him over a piece of paper. A piece of paper that Mads didn’t even remember acquiring. Whoever had given it to him had probably been the one to steal it, which was probably why they’d parted with it so readily.

There was no point in being mad at whoever it was, but on the off-chance Mads did escape, he was going to track the fucker down and thank him of ruining his life. And possibly the lives of his boys, too. Nuka had threatened to break him out of jail, but fortunately there’d been no sign of him, which hopefully meant he’d had the sense to stay away, and away from the pack too, in case they punished him for Mads’s mistakes.

Mads sighed, putting his head against the wall. It was impossible to sleep so he was tired all the time, but the potential for passing out was the only thing that made his time in here bearable. He used to say think he’d die with his cock inside a boy, but it would honestly be nice if he could just sleep right until his execution.

“They aren’t going to execute you, don’t worry.”

Mads blinked, sitting straight. He was still in the jail cell, but it was silent and the other prisoners were gone. On the single flat cot near the second wall, on the other side of the cell from Mads, was sitting a boy. He was frail, small for his age, and wearing just a small pair of shorts. He looked a bit like Bob, since Mads knew to look. “Hi,” Mads said. “Suddenly you don’t seem like you’re being tortured.”

“I’m not,” the boy said. “You rescued me a year ago.”

Mads scowled at him. “I haven’t been asleep that long.”

“No. But if there’s one thing I know about dreams, it’s that they’re not very logical,” said the boy. “Please don’t ask me why my power lets me be here. I really don’t know. It just does. I’m in your bed a year from now and I’m sharing a dream with you now.”

Well, Mads couldn’t argue with that bullshit. “Okay,” he said. “So what, you’re here to tell me I have nothing to worry about? Because the future already exists and you’re fine?”

The boy smiled, shaking his head. “Asking you not to worry about us is a waste of time. I’m here to tell you that the future changes way more often than any of us ordinary people would like to believe, and if you don’t get out of this jail soon I’m going to die and then this will have never happened.”

Oh. Mads looked at his hands, then back up at the boy. “I’d have really preferred the other thing.”

“Me too. I think I’d like it if I could exist sometimes without that being metaphysically threatened, but…” the boy shrugged. “I can’t really help you, but I can tell you something. The you who’s currently sleeping with me got out of jail by jumping out a window as he was being brought for Imperial questioning. He broke his leg but he’s fine now. You could try that if no other options present themselves.”

Mads raised an eyebrow. “Which presumably they won’t, since me and me are the same person.”

“Not necessarily.” The boy slipped off the bed and stretched, crossing the room to run his hand along the bars that made up the third wall. “My grandson isn’t the only person in Narwhal Junction who’s out of place. It makes things change a lot. Nuka died, which he never should have and he didn’t have to.”

Mads felt his heart stop, and he sat straight. “What? No. Tell me what happened, I’ll fix it.”

“I don’t know. You don’t like to talk about it. The Clan killed him.” The boy looked genuinely upset to Mads. “I’m sorry, Mads. I wish I could tell you that it’s going to be okay. But it won’t be, unless you make it okay. We all have to make the futures we want.”

Mads closed his eyes, making himself stand. “It’s not about what we want,” he said, “It’s about what the people we love deserve.” He was not going to let Nuka die. He wasn’t going to let any of them die.

“Yeah,” the boy agreed. “Not to be selfish, even though that’s what you teach me to be, but you have to prioritize saving me.”


“If I die, the world’s going to end,” the boy said flatly, bringing Mads up short. “This isn’t just about one boy in one city, Mads. It’s about everyone. And I know you believe me, because even though we haven’t met yet, I think you know I wouldn’t lie to you.”

“Of course I know that,” Mads whispered, because he did. And they had met, three times, in Mads’s visions. They’d shared a body. Mads trusted him. “I’m going to save you. Not just because of the world, but because you deserve it too.”

The boy hugged him, and Mads hugged back instinctively. “I knew you’d say that,” he said softly. He had a dark, heavy tattoo all down his back. “We’re going to wake up in a second.”

Mads nodded, holding the boy tight. “What’s your name?”

Mads woke up to the cawing of a crow and the creaking of the door as the guards pulled it open. “Hey, rude,” said a scrawny guy as they shoved him inside. “Assholes.” He said it in Daolo, which was weird. The door slammed shut behind him.

The guy was southern, blonde, blue eyes, pale skin. He looked like he didn’t get enough sun, sleep or food. His clothes were cut weird, but it was too dark for Mads to see them clearly. He looked around the jail cell, saw Mads and immediately came to sit next to him. Not so much a foreigner that he didn’t recognize a soothsayer, then. “Hi,” Mads said in Daolo. “Don’t suppose you speak Eesk or Nathnjek? Only I think I’m the only one in here bilingual enough to understand you if you don’t.”

“Gesundheit,” the new guy said, which wasn’t a word in any of those languages. Hands in his pockets as he leaned back against the fourth wall, he watched everyone warily. “Why’d they arrest you? Public indecency?”

Mads snorted. “Theft. But not one of the thefts I committed. You?”

“Private indecency,” the guy said with a roll of his eyes. He was quiet for a second, frowning. “Anyway, I only just got here and now I’m in jail, so that sucks.”

“Least they’re not going to execute you,” Mads offered. The Imperials wouldn’t kill someone for whipping his dick out unless they were in a marketplace or something, not that that would have made it a real crime.

“They’re not going to execute you either, Mads.”

Mads looked at him now, saw the guy looking at him expectantly. “I don’t know you.”

“Not yet. But I’m not so stupid that I don’t know how to give pigs—or I guess they’re Eagles here—the slip.” The guy glared at nothing. “Despite what some people think. I got arrested on purpose, so I could meet you.”

“Seems a bit extreme, but okay,” said Mads, who didn’t really know what to say. Clearly this was yet another person who knew more than he did. It was getting remarkably common. “And break me out of jail, I hope, because there’s this little boy…”

“Yeah, I know.” The guy held out his hand. “We’re going to get you and him out, don’t worry. My name’s Juniper, and this is far from the worst place I’ve ever gotten out of…”

Previous (Story)

Previous (Series)

Next (Story)

Next (Series)

4 thoughts on “Soothsayer, 10

  1. So that’s where the Involuted Clock sent Earth!Juniper.

    And the tortured boy/future Map of Amker is Bob’s grandfather? Which would make him…*checks Bob’s bio* Crow Talan, right?


    1. “Yep, I guess this is where it sent me. Giles told me I’m not allowed to ask for spoilers, but, uh, I sure wouldn’t mind knowing if I came back in the end…”

      Shhh, don’t tell him, it’ll impact his decisions.

      Yes, they are one and the same! And yes, that does make him Crow, as I have be oh-so-very-subtle about all this time, ahaha. Which of course is to say that my clues, tiny as they were, made me laugh.

      Thanks! 😀


  2. Oh, come on, Mads! The pack isn’t going to hold Maple Song learning that Santa isn’t real against you.

    You really need to do something about that imposter syndrome of yours.


    1. He really does! He doesn’t have any kind of high opinion of himself, and considering he’s legitimatley quite talented and very good for his community, he ought to get over that honestly. He should know how high the esteem the pack has for him is. Hopefully they come teach him that soon…



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s