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It was easy enough to keep only vaguely aware of Rosalind as the dinner conversation moved on. There was concern for Alex given the subject of class tomorrow, but then things moved onto other topics, like what they’d been doing lately. Joshua was pretty quiet though that, only mentioning he’d been busy with a project.
Alex tried psychically getting his attention a few more times, but gave up. Still, Joshua could feel not just her trying to get attention, but Tom’s excitement, Ethan’s discomfort, and the mixed emotions in the cafeteria. It was stronger than he was used to, but he was managing to keep himself from getting overwhelmed.
It was still a relief when he was done with dinner and could leave a little early claiming he needed to catch up on the reading. They teased him a bit about not having done it already, which he laughed with. It was on the way back to his dorm that the sad feeling from Rosalind hit him. Home-sickness? He kept walking, but reached out to her,[i ”Are you alright?”]
The pressure of 30 pairs of eyes watching her every move is an odd sort of pressure, like sparks of fairy dust crawling all over her skin. The majority of this class is filled with other members of the summer fae, with a very small portion even coming from the sanctuary with her. Several eyes flitter away once she's taken her seat, but one clings to her like their life depended on it, and Rosalind doesn't even have to meet his gaze to know that it's Roman staring at her.
Roman is a summer fae like her, from the sanctuary, one of the few spared, and also the person her grandmother was in the midst of securing a union for her with. Talk of their union ended when the flames engulfed their home of course, but Roman has not let her forget what might have been in the past 10 years since their capture. The worst part is that Roman couldn't be more different than her. While she secretly plots for the freedom of all non-human creatures, Roman heads straight into their grasp. He's even gone as far as suggesting that once they are finished with school in two years that they participate in the highly dangerous and highly experimental procedure to remove all of their fae characteristics and essentially make them human.
Thankfully Roman is sitting in the very back of the class and the only seat available is in the very front. Rosalind doesn't have the mental capacity to fend off Roman's advances right now, not while her thoughts are consumed with the little creatures that are sleeping peacefully in her room.
She mindlessly takes notes, hardly interested in the construct of the average faerie and it's differences to pixies. How could she be? When she has created completely new life and the construct is completely new and unknown?
This train of thought causes a surge of home-sickness to rage through her. If her grandmother were here with her, she'd know the best way to keep these creatures alive, the proper way for them to grow and how to analyze their construct without causing them any harm. Not to mention she'd throw an amazing party, because the creation of life is something widely celebrated in her race, whether its in traditional means or something like this. Her heart breaks because she should be parading the creatures around, not forcing them to hide in the shadows.
With the pixie dust hidden Joshua headed to the cafeteria for dinner. Despite delays he wasn’t terribly late. He got his tray of food and slid into an empty spot at the edge. The conversation paused for them to greet him and try to drag him into the conversation. Alex was staring at him, be he was trying not to look directly at her. Tom started talking, the guy clearly the most interested in whatever the topic was.
“Hey Josh, what do you think? So we were talking about the reading for biology, what do you think about the latest section?”
Joshua nodded when there was a pause,”Okay, what was the reading? I haven’t done it yet.”
There was laughter and Tom shook his head,”Dude, you’re gonna fail if you keep skipping the reading. Anyway, it’s the section on mutts like our lovely Alex.”
Joshua briefly glanced at Alex, who gave a slight smile, but was watching intensely. Joshua looked back at Tom and prompted him to continue,”Oh?”
Tom rolled his eyes,”You know, the books and teachers keep talking about how mixing human and non-human is so awful. It’s dumb, right?”
Ethan was looking uncomfortable. Not just looking, Joshua could feel it. Some sort of conflict. Joshua answered slowly,”Yeah. Doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
He was aware his limited dating now included two girls who weren’t human. Not that he could tell anyone about Rosalind just yet. The discouragement of human and non-human dating had always seemed off to Joshua, and a little arbitrary.
James elbowed Joshua,”Of course.”
A clear reference to Alex being his ex. Ethan squirmed in his seat and spoke up,”We’re talking about it because it’s sure to come up in class tomorrow. And Alex is…”
All eyes were on Alex. Alex was a half elf, and the only one at the table that wasn’t fully human. The girl sitting next to her put an arm around her,”We’ve got your back.”
Ah. Right. A discussion like that was an uncomfortable topic for Alex. Some teachers were outright hostile to her over the issue, and at best they turned a blind eye to any students who decided to give her a hard time even if the teacher wasn’t singling her out.
Alex smiled and hugged her friend,”Thanks. I’ll be fine. You guys worry too much.”
Joshua could feel Alex. It was gentle, like a knock asking to be let into his head. He ignored her, but felt another wave of discomfort from Ethan. What was going on? Ethan almost seemed angry under everything.
Joshua shrugged,”A lot of the teachers are kind of dumb about the subject. Alex knows we don’t care.”
Joshua’s thoughts strayed to Rosalind. Yet another reason he wanted this system gone. Even ignoring the powers that were bound to get them into a whole lot of trouble, a relationship between them would not be one administrators would approve of.
Once Rosalind Shuts the door behind Josh, She simply stands there for a moment, feeling the pounding of her heart running through her body. The silence that falls over the room is broken only by the strange noises of the creatures, clearly worried about Rosalind's stationary position. It's not until she feels the vines of one of the creatures wrapping itself around her leg does she finally move. She picks up the creature and walks over to her bed, allowing herself a few more moments of peace before she has to get ready to leave.
She takes a moment and really looks at the creatures, taking note of how structures each creature is. Even though they appear to be made from bark and leaves they are truly made from something else entirely. Rosalind doesn't know enough about this process to be able to accurately identify what they are now, but the previously fragile plants are now sturdy and impenetrable, not that she's attempted to penetrate them when anything beside her finger pushing firmly against what was once an orchid petal.
Even though she wants nothing more than to stay on her bed and spend the night figuring out how the creatures remain alive, she knows she has to leave for class if she wants to make it on time. She manages to get herself ready to leave rather easily, but just as she's about to say good bye to the creatures they appear ready to jump into her bag, unaware that they would not all fit. [#f08080 "I'm sorry, you guys can come with me this time, you've gotten too big for me to be able to hide you guys properly. You will have to wait until I get back, and I promise I will be coming back."] Rosalind says as she runs her hand through the leaf/fur of two if the creature. They begin to make sad noises with their eyes actually watering up.
[#f08080 "Oh no, no, no don't do that. I'll be back before you know it. Just try and get some sleep and before you know it I'll be right back here."] Rosalind says, scooping up the creatures into her arms, doing her best to sooth them.
It takes a solid 35 minutes before Rosalind is able to calm them down and get them to fall asleep. Once they are, she literally has to fly to class to at least attempt to make it on time. Despite her best effort, Rosalind still ends up arriving 10 minutes late, and now she is wildly out of breath and her back is aching. Her professor scolds her in front of the rest of her class, but thankfully he allows her to take a seat before he resumes class.
Joshua returned her smile and put the jars into his bag. It was so easy to be around her. Despite not being a psychic herself, she seemed to take very naturally to the way of communicating. Two simultaneous conversations, shared emotions, and often acting different from how you felt.
[i “Of course.”] Only it wouldn’t have been so easy without her. He looked down at her, responding easily enough to the conversation meant to be overheard,”Yeah, definitely. It was fun, and I think we’ll have the best project.”
Training dictated that attachments were potential weaknesses for psychics. Something to be exploited if the connection was too strong. They were told to be cautious, but with Rosalind he was realizing something else. True enough she could be used against him, but she was giving him something to fight for. He wouldn’t have taken the risks with the pixie dust or maybe even the rebellion if not for the desire to protect her.
Joshua realized he was just standing there, and offered an awkward smile,”See you.”
He left, going directly to his room. He would need to drop off his bag, and this was the perfect time. He was late for dinner, so his roommate would be with Alex at dinner. No chance of being caught, then the pixie dust would be safe and he could go to dinner with some excuse about the project work talking too long.
Rosalind moves to stand as well, holding his hand in hers, knowing that once he leaves she’ll have to get ready for class. That once he leaves it won’t be long before he is under the gaze of Alex. Rosalind hears his voice in her head, feeling a wave of concern for the delicateness of the topic. She can feel the pressure of fear and excitement rising simultaneously at the risks they are taking for a chance to be free once more.
To Rosalind, a moment of true and genuine fresh air granted only by true freedom is worth any and all risk she must take to earn it. [#f08080 [i “That shouldn’t be a problem; I was able to find you through the connection so I should be able to lead you to me through it as well.”]] She leans up and gives him a quick and soft kiss, before going over and grabbing all but one of the jars of pixie dust [#f08080 [i “Thank you for taking these with you as well, I know that it’s risky for you to take these to your dorm and I am very grateful that you are willing to take that risk.”]] She gives him a genuine smile, waiting for him to fully put them in his bag before walking him to her door, [#f08080 “Thank you for coming over and helping me with our project, I had a lot of fun today. I’ll see you later to work on it some more right?”] She says aloud, holding the door open for him, hoping that the creatures will have the sense to remain hidden from sight of anyone who might pass down the hallway.
Rosalind stands there staring at him, feeling a strange sense of peace, like the kind only someone blissfully ignorant can have. Somehow being there right in front of him reminds her of being a child free to roam the peaceful village safely hidden from the human society that wished so strongly to oppress all of their kind. Somehow he makes all of the horrible scars seem to fade away, and she isn’t sure if that’s a positive thing or something that will only cripple her in the upcoming events to occur during the rebellion.
“Mmm, it might be nice. I’ve been avoiding people lately.” He could feel her worry along with his own, but both of them were ignoring it. That was probably for the best, since there wasn’t much either of them could do about it for now. Skipping classes wasn’t really a viable option. Alex was making it impossible to continue to avoid her.
“I will. I doubt she’ll try too much for now. You know, I think you scare her a little.” He smiled and brushed her cheek, letting his fingers run into her hair. He knew she was really worried, and he couldn’t deny that he was worried too. Alex [i might] try something, depending on how much she thought she could get away with. Joshua wanted to think more optimistically, and besides that there seemed to be some truth to it. Alex wasn’t dismissive of Rosalind, she seemed to genuinely not want to antagonize her too much.
He sighed,”I guess that means I better go for now. I’ll see you later though.”
[i “You might have to help guide me. Make sure I get to the right spot tonight.”] Somehow it still felt too dangerous to talk openly about the meeting, even though he was pretty sure no one could hear them.
Rosalind easily feels the draw to simply remain in his arms and keep him here in her room with her. She could hide him away in the mountains of blankets she has and just skip classes for the night, but she knows that would be too risky. She also knows that he has to go to dinner with his friends that ditching them would be too out of character for Josh and would draw attention. She sighs and pushes herself up to a sitting position. [#f08080 “I don’t want you to go either, but it’ll be nice for you to spend some time with your friends. Even if Alex is there I’m sure the rest of your friends will act as a nice buffer,”] she doesn’t want him to go, especially since Alex is going to be there. She feels a knot of worry twisting in her stomach at the thought of the two of them together and her attempting to do something to him.
She does her best to swallow her worry, finding that the green cat like creature is wrapping his vines around her arm and slinking its way up and onto her shoulder. [#f08080 “You know if you want to talk to me or if anything weird happens while you are there you can always talk to me about it. Actually I think I’d prefer if you did keep me updated while you are around Alex. I don’t want her to try any funny business with you.”] And at that Rosalind makes a pouty face, trying to mask her genuine concern with the silly face. She knows that he can sense her worry just as she can sense his, but they are both making an effort to cover it with keeping things light. That’s a very positive thing, in times of stress and concern the ability to remain cheerful is a good trait to have, and Rosalind is very grateful that he has it as well.
Joshua let her pull him down, his eyes closed. It was nice to hold her and just relax, and he thought about how easy it would be to just fall asleep like this. Easy and definitely against the rules. Besides that, she had classes tonight.
[i “That amount should be easy enough to manage then.”
He could feel her drawing something on his chest, but he couldn’t tell what it was. It was a little distracting, but he managed to keep track of her thoughts,[i “I see. So at some point they’ll be talking. I wonder what they’ll have to say?”]
It took until she spoke for him to realize what that odd feeling was. He could feel her suddenly seem to get more tired, but couldn’t put his finger on why. For a moment he was worried, then when she asked about the time he remembered that it must be around dusk,[i “Oh. Uh, around now.”]
Joshua sighed, looking at the ceiling. He couldn’t say he was eager to go, Alex had practically forced the thing, and he had a feeling he knew why. At the time it was to try and get closer to him since he’d been avoiding her. Would she stop now after the confrontation with Rosalind? Somehow Joshua doubted it, more likely Alex would just get more subtle about it.
Whatever she wanted out of him, it didn’t seem like she was letting go easily. What if he just asked her what she really wanted? Would she tell the truth, or just act coy and play more games? Joshua put his hand on his forehead,”I should go. Don’t really want to though.”
He kissed the top of her head, trying to play off and suppress his worries about Alex and the little knot of stress about the possibility his friends might notice a change in him,”You are making it impossible to want to leave.”
Rosalind is surprised by the random comment, but the feeling of his hand on her face is soothing and warm, she gladly leans into it a bit, hearing him work through the options he has for transporting the dust makes it easier for her to calculate what all he could take with him. [#f08080 [i “I believe it could all fit in one trip. Those 6 containers are the only ones that I have, besides what I filled today I only keep small pouches in the heels of my boots, the rest is in my room below the school.”]] Rosalind admits, pulling him back and onto the bed, resting her head against his chest and listening to the sound of his beating heart.
[#f08080 [i “Also I believe the creatures are intended to protect me once they get much larger, but the spell is actually meant to create a sentient creature from the death of the earth, or bits of dead plants. These little guys are made from living plants, so I’m not sure if they will have the same roll once they are fully grown. I read that once they get to a certain size that they will begin to properly understand the main language their creator speaks and then later on be able to speak it as well.”]] Rosalind draws shapes on Josh’s chest, unintentionally drawing ruins from one of her books.
Rosalind feels a rush of exhaustion pulling at her, indicating that the sun has officially begun its final decent. [#f08080 [i “What time is your dinner? It’s starting to get a bit late and I don’t want you to miss hanging out with your friends.”]] Rosalind makes sure to keep her tone light and airy, knowing that she could easily come off as jealous and possessive in relation to Alex being present.
Rosalind had a lot of pixie dust around, and these creatures would no doubt get into it fast. Well before the month was up. Joshua lifted his head slightly when she mentioned not knowing how many she could have made. It was probably a good thing there weren’t more of these creatures to hide right now. These ones were already going to be tricky enough to keep out of trouble.
[i “Me hide the pixie dust? I suppose I could, my roommate and I tend to leave each others stuff alone. If I keep it under my bed and in my closet that should keep it hidden long enough.”]
She had lovely eyes. Joshua smiled and touched her cheek. [i “You’re beautiful. But yes, if we can separate them from the pixie dust that should solve the problem for now.”]
It would be so easy to get distracted by her. He kissed her cheek lightly before leaning away, trying to avoid the temptation to lose his fingers and his self control in her hair. They had to focus on things that needed to get done. [i “How much pixie dust is there? Could I carry it all in my bag, or will I need to take a couple of trips?”]
He hoped it wasn’t too much, because there was only so much he could keep in his dorm without arousing any suspicion.
Rosalind can’t help but chuckle at the thought of Josh having pixie dust lying around his room, but definitely understands his concern. If they got any bigger she would have a hard time hiding them, and it would become quite a problem. It might only be a month away, but a month is a long time when you’re trying to keep a rebellion a secret. These creatures could throw everything into jeopardy and she couldn’t afford to allow that to happen. [#f08080 [i “I’ve got to figure out something I can do to hide them, I just have no idea how, and everywhere I could think of has pixie dust.”]] Rosalind unconsciously pets the creature at this point trying to think of a way out of this.
[#f08080 [i “Also you don’t have to be sorry about interrupting me, if I made these creatures within the time frame I was working on the spell who knows how many of these things I could have created.”]] Rosalind stares at the jars of pixie dust for a minute, trying to think of a safe way to keep the creatures from it. Then it hits her [#f08080 [i “You could take the pixie dust and hide it. It’s a lot less dangerous if you have it, with how much ability you have right now it should be more than easy for you to cloak them from your roommate. If you cloak them and keep them in your closet or something we will kill two birds with one stone.”]] Rosalind suggests, looking over at Josh with wide eyes while speaking to him through their connection, doing her best to ensure that she can’t be over heard with this topic.
Joshua sighed and ruffled the hair on the top of his head. It was already a bit of a mess, and his ruffling only made it stick out a little differently. Humanoid size would be practically impossible to hide if they got that big. “Oh. Sorry about that.”
So that was the specifics of it. He felt a bit bad for distracting her and making a mess like this. But was this what she was capable of by accident? That was impressive. Joshua looked at the creatures in her lap. They were pretty cute now, but what would they look like bigger? “Sounds good to ask. I’d offer to hide them, since I don’t have pixie dust, except I have a roommate who would freak out and report it.”
He scooted a little closer to her, his head tilted slightly. His mind was turning over something as he looked at the creatures. Joshua leaned his head against Rosalind’s shoulder, the gears in his mind turning even as he thought the questions to her,[i “Humanoid size or bigger? What’s the purpose then? Would they defend you? Sorry, just wondering if they might be helpful when things happen.”]
Rosalind watches as Josh lifts the knocked over jar of pixie dust and attempt to get as much pixie dust back into the container as possible. She focuses on the pixie dust being put in and exactly how much had been knocked out and used. It’s not too much, but it’s enough to make each of the previously palm sized creatures turn into cat sized creatures. She can feel concern washing over her, but she’s not sure if it’s her own or Josh’s not that it even matters at this point. She climbs off of the bed and moves over to the creatures, lifting them up and off of the floor and places them on the bed.
She grabs her broom and dustpan and sweeps up the small particles that Josh missed and throws it away. She plops back down on the bed and pulls the creatures into her laps, trying to figure out how to keep them in control during this painfully long month before they no longer need to hide. [#f08080 “I honestly have no idea what to do. They can keep growing till they are humanoid size; some creatures can grow even bigger than that, it’s dependent on the strength of the spell. I was sitting here practicing and trying to create a single one of these. I managed to get it almost perfect but then you reached out to me and I lost concentration. I thought it meant that the spell failed, because the creature in my hand fell apart, it wasn’t until a bit later that I looked up and saw all of these things just roaming around the room. I’m going to have to bring them to the meeting tonight, maybe another general will know what to do, or a seer may give me some advice on hiding them.”] Rosalind says as she runs her fingers over the leafy fur of one of the creatures
[i “Mm, I see. I wonder if I’ve met him then. I guess we’ll find out. It makes sense not wanting to talk about school really.”] The talking was working well enough. He could keep his mind on it, at least mostly. Her heartbeat was soothing to listen to.
He was about to answer about the project she she suddenly moved. Joshua sat up, looking where she was. The little plant creatures had gotten into something. Something magical at that. They were growing.
[i “Mischievous.”] The thought came out almost without him realizing it.
They could be little trouble makers, clearly. The problem with that was that they were now getting big enough to get into bigger trouble. “Uh, Rosalind? How are you going to manage them for the next month? Especially if they get bigger?”
As he talked he also cleaned. The jar hovered up, and what he could get of the pixie dust was being poured inside. It seemed best that they not be allowed into more, if it could be helped. How big could they get? Too big to hide? “How did you end up with them again?”
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