Team, 113

“Nadya Ovenbrook is trying to destroy the universe,” Derek Arkhewer told them as they followed him down a long hallway dotted with round doors. “I don’t think she realizes that’s what she’s doing, but she is.”

“What does she think she’s trying to do?” Cal asked, mostly curious what Derek’s answer would be. House Arkhewer was the name of the noble house that oversaw Ech’kent in Cal’s world, and it was probably just a coincidence that Derek was also named that.

“Well, I can’t read her mind and we’ve only met once. But from what I’ve seen, I think she thinks she’s going to go back in time and stop Armageddon.”

Cal frowned. “Why would she want to do that?”

“Why wouldn’t she?” Joey asked. “Her world got destroyed.”

Witch, 118

“Have you ever talked to a spirit before?”

“No. I don’t think so.”

“You’re not sure?”

“Well. I’m not sure if the forest counts as a spirit.”

“Oh. That’s a good question.”

“It laughed at me the one time I asked it.”

“Seems like something it would do, yes,” Ron said, directing that comment to the forest, which was indeed laughing again. “I don’t think it’s a spirit. It feels too big.”

Witch, 117

“Is Keden doing okay?”

“He seems the same as before.”

“So you don’t think Juniper was talking about him.”

“I don’t know, but it seems unlikely.”

“You really don’t think he’s dangerous?”


Jed nodded. “He’s definitely not.”

Witch, 116

“You want some?”

“No, thanks.”

“Okay. You guys?”

“Sure, what is it?”

“Just greenheart, nothing serious. Ron, are the kids old enough to do drugs?”

Ron shrugged while he gently moved Jay and Tanner’s Parcelbug away from their house. Apparently his roots were poking into their basement. “They’re old enough to tie each other up and pee on each other, I don’t see why not.”

Team, 104

After a few seconds, everyone else joined Cal at the top of the hill, looking down at the metal city with him. “Wow!” said Ray, hopping from foot to foot, tail straight up in the air. “Where are we? I’ve never even heard of a city like this!”

“Me either,” said Sully, rubbing his arms. His disguise was down, and so was Mick’s. “Elves used to have some pretty kickass cities, but they didn’t look like this.”

“Could the Clock have taken us way into the future?” Travis asked.

“Or way into the past?” Mick added.

“The stars are wrong,” Beatrice muttered.

Others, 44

Juniper focused.

The people here had nicer prisons than the people on Nova, but prisons were still prisons and Juniper was tired of being in jail.

They’d stuck them in individual cells, obviously so they wouldn’t talk to each other, and Juniper’s had a small window that hardly let any light in and didn’t give him a view of anything but a concrete wall. It wasn’t cold in the room, but it also wasn’t warm. Being on Earth had taught Juniper that this sort of inoffensive middle temperature was almost always caused by effective climate control, but he hadn’t found any kind of ventilation. All that was in the room was a sink and toilet and the bed he was laying on, staring at the featureless metal ceiling.

It’ll be okay, June, I promise.

Team, 103

The dark underneath the solitary cells was only total for a second after Cal dropped down, but that second was long enough to cloy at him. It seemed to stick at him, like the dark was a tangible thing, something that wanted to cover him and remove him from it so it could live in peace.

The magic light that started hovering around him a few seconds after he hit the ground dispelled it, but not enough. The brightness of the light didn’t seem to push the dark back as much as it should, like it was meeting active resistance.

The others steadily joined Cal, coming down through the trapdoor one at a time. More lights filled the room once Mick, Lillian and Sully realized how fucking dark it was. Bob put on a light on his forehead too, shining in a beam around the room wherever he turned.

“What the hell’s the point of this room?” Beatrice demanded, looking around the large, circular room. It had nothing in it, not even forgotten crates. She took a breath. “Oh. Nevermind.”

Soothsayer, 14

“Mads,” said Crow’s cracked voice, quieter than it sounded in the dark.

Mads shook himself, sitting straighter. Shit. “Did I fall asleep?”

“Yeah,” Crow whispered, foot touching Mads’s shoulder. “You seemed like you needed it.”

“I’m sorry,” said Mads, reaching up and stroking Crow’s leg. His chains clinked a little bit as he tried to move into the touch. Mads didn’t even want to think about how long it had been since he’d been touched for reasons other than torture. “I didn’t mean to leave you alone.”

“You didn’t. You were still here. Your friend is waking up.”

Addicts Anonymous

It was brisk outside and Erik had a light jacket on, but Juniper was just wearing a t-shirt. He was on the phone in the parking lot, leaning on a car that wasn’t his, since he didn’t have a car, or at least that was what he’d told Erik when Erik had driven him home last time.

“Listen, all I’m saying is that it’s going to screw with people’s heads,” Juniper was saying, sounding agitated. “Like, if I’m reading the story, it’s going to be like, why is this idiot in two places at once? It’s going to seem like a continuity error.”

As far as Erik knew, Juniper was someone’s personal assistant in his day job and a sculpture artist on the side. Maybe he also had a gig as someone’s editor, what did he know?

“Yes, I get that time travel is happening. I was literally there when the time travel happened. I’m just saying that…no, I’m not calling your audience stupid. Oh, for fuck’s sake. Listen, I’m going to my meeting. Try not to be annoying for ten minutes.”

Soothsayer, 13

Mads sank into Nuka with a quiet sigh, resting his head on the pillow above Nuka’s. Nuka’s face was buried in his chest, breathing gently. It had been a long day and they hadn’t gotten much done and it was nice to just end it with a few quiet minutes with his special boy.

Nuka clearly agreed, holding Mads close and moving with him, touching his chest and then his thighs, wrapping his legs around Mads.

Mads had an errant thought that if Nuka were bigger they could kiss in this position, but he banished it as he fucked Nuka, because Nuka was perfect as he was and nothing about him should change until he was ready for it to.