A Talespin fanfic by Lizzy Spencer (KarmaCat) Page 14
That night in his cold, lonely bed, Shere Khan had a dream, wherein which Orly was riding a gorilla bird up and down the halls of the apartment, Sarabi was moving the stars with deft motions of her hands, and August stepped off the plane from England, fresh and glowing, chiming, "Hello, Shere! How was the weekend without me, love?"
Sarabi awoke the next morning just as the sun was peeking out from between the cliffs, still feeling drunk and happy, but a little surprised to find herself lying on a green couch pressed against a sleeping James, his strong arms around her, and her blue bathrobe lying on the floor next to them, his white shirt slung over a chair.
But the surprise waned with remembrance. This was....nice.
She rested her forehead in the warm crook between his neck and shoulder and smiled, almost laughed, dizzy. What had she been so afraid of for nine hours? It had been, to say the least, a pleasant evening. When she finally gave in, she had enjoyed herself.
In fact...she had REALLY enjoyed herself.
Of course, she wouldn't admit that to anyone. Maybe to James. If he was good.
She drew a little line with her finger against the short black fur on James's neck, watching with intoxicated fascination as the hairs popped back into place. He started to purr ever so lightly. She curled against him. He was pleasantly muscular.
But nevertheless, she still wondered what had fueled the incredible drive she had had to come down here in the first place. What fueled this sudden and incredible affection she felt for James, like it was something she never should have questioned. She reflected on how she felt for a moment. Her body was abuzz with energy, like billions of tiny fluttering butterflies. It was wonderful. It belonged to her.
"Your Consort has given you that gift you feel," said the voice.
She wasn't surprised to hear it. 'What is it?" She loved the way James breathed. He had a thin gold chain around his neck that glittered on his collarbone. She knew that this sensuality should be completely alien to her, but it wasn't, for some reason.
"It is your full and total power. It was your need of that which brought you to him. He is a Holy Conduit, and we siphoned energy into him, so that he may deliver that power to you through the bond you have shared. It was a tremendous influx of life energy. And now that you have it, you will be able to control it."
She raised her eyebrows. "Will I have to keep on...?"
"No. The process is necessary only once. You will soon revive from this inter-plaing state. You may forget much of what we have told you. You will forget most of it."
"Corporeal state," was their only reply.
"Hmmm." She was covered in waves of warm intoxication, relishing the feeling of a warm body against hers, feeling as though she never wanted the morning to end. She felt surrounded by a deep richness, and James, all over-
The drunken sensation dissipated.
Abruptly she sat up, the air cold around her. She couldn't let anyone catch her here! She couldn't let anyone know what she had done.
What HAD she done?
She coughed and looked down, shocked at James's sleeping form. WHAT had she DONE? What insanity had led her to this?
It wasn't something she could blame on him, she knew. She had wanted this. She had been in pain for nine hours and had finally given in to it, but why? What...what had happened? Why was she so willing? How?
WHAT in the WORLD had possessed her to...?
She stood and slipped on her bathrobe, grimacing. Her insides ached.
The bathrobe was popping with static electricity, and she took a second to look around the room. Her jaw dropped open slightly. Plants that were on top of a bookshelf now had vines that stretched to the floor. The large, leafy thing in the corner had become a few shades greener and extended out at least two feet more than it had last night. Everywhere she stepped static stung her feet like tiny pinpricks.
The phrase, 'It was a tremendous influx of energy" rang in her head.
What did that mean?
She looked upon James, sleeping peacefully on the couch, and she felt another pang - but this one was much less intense than the ones she had felt the night before. Some feeling she had for him. Like the feelings she had first had that day in the office, in the elevator, of repressed physical attraction, but this was bordering on mental attraction as well. She had just shared something with him that she had never shared with any other being, and she barely knew him, but...she KNEW him, inside, she knew....that he was her mate.
Some of the feelings, she realized, were those of embarrassment. But strangely enough, no real regret. She wondered why not.
She ignored it and gently shook James awake. "Wake up."
"Hggn?" His eyes opened to find a stern looking Sarabi peering down at him. He smiled. "Morning."
She took his clothes from off the chair and handed them to him. "You might want to get dressed before the employees get here." She found herself smiling strangely, not understanding why. "Just a suggestion." Her body stiffened and she began to walk out the door. Already she was rejecting the whole ordeal.
"Wait!" he called. "Come here for a second. Please."
She looked at him for a moment and then did so. "Yes?'
"Come here. Closer."
She leaned down, expecting him to whisper something in her ear. But instead he put his hand on the back of her neck and drew her down to kiss her. She didn't pull away from him. She kissed him back just as fully as he kissed her.
She didn't mind. It seemed appropriate. She ended it when the first inkling seeped into her mind that it was early yet...the employees wouldn't be here for at least another hour...
But as soon as the kiss ended, she abruptly left the lounge. "I have to go."
He watched as the door closed behind her, gripping his white shirt in his hand. The sun was perched above the cliffs now, filling the room with a delightful orange. He gazed as the door clinked shut.
"That's just your way, isn't it?" he asked softly, still not understanding himself what had happened the night before, but having no bad feelings about it, either.
Orange light filled Orly's room when she awoke screaming.
She sat stark upright in bed, sweating, her eyes wide with fear. What a terrific nightmare! Two seconds ago she had been lying in the street next to her sister, but her sister had turned into nothing but a shapeless mass of flesh and blood and white cream hair. The blood was sticking to Orly's skin and she could not get it off, no matter how hard she tried. It began to sizzle her fur, and as Gabriel prayed, a small murmur in the background, Orly looked up - and saw another white car screaming down the street for her.
And she began to cry silently. Not because of the dream, but because of the atrocity of what had happened that day and the effect it had had. That, she thought, was something she shouldn't have had to see. It was wrong.
But her sister was still alive, which was also wrong. But good.
Orly shivered from the chill of a passing ghost and lay down again to sleep.
Both Shere and Orly watched Sarabi the next morning at the breakfast table. Her hair was wet. She didn't usually take showers in the morning. They both knew something was wrong.
"We're going to visit your grandmother tomorrow," Shere said expectantly.
Sarabi didn't reply. She only looked off to the side with her chin in her hand, thoughtful, not touching the breakfast Michael had worked so hard to prepare for her. Even Michael watched the occupied tigress from over the counter, swiveling his long green lizard neck to survey the situation.
"We're taking the private jet," Orly said. Her sister was still off somewhere and Orly was losing patience. She gave an exasperated sigh. "Sarabi, a penny for your damned thoughts, if you will." She sounded like Shere if Shere had decided to be a sailor.
Sarabi jumped. "What?"
"What seems to be on your mind this morning, my dear?' Shere asked.
Her jaw dropped a little. "Nothing."
"Are you still not feeling well?"
He took a sip of coffee. 'Yesterday you mentioned that you weren't feeling well."
"Oh? Oh, I did. I feel better now. Much better." She gave a little laugh and her face quickly hardened again.
After a moment of silence, Orly said, "I'm glad you're here, Sarabi."
"I'm glad you're here."
Shere glanced sideways at Orly, knowing what she meant but saying nothing. For the past few days he had been peering at the forms he was given from the hospital, the records, trying to decipher them to the best of his ability. The doctors couldn't even make sense of what happened so he didn't expect that he could. After a while, he had decided to leave well enough alone. He had his daughter alive and well and he wasn't going to question it any further. It was one of the few things in his life he had ever decided not to question.
"I'm glad you're here too, Orly," Sarabi replied in her toneless way of expressing emotion.
Shere Khan sat at his desk.
Sarabi sat on the other side.
There was an empty glass on the desk between them.
He pointed to it with a single claw. "Move that," he said.
"This is ridiculous."
"I saw you do it before. Do it again. Move the glass."
"I didn't move anything. I don't know why things have been moving by themselves, but it wasn't me."
"It only happens when you are around, Sarabi. Explain that."
She gave an exasperated sigh. "Father! You're the one who told me that the legends were nonsense in the first place! You've been telling me that all my life!"
He raised an eyebrow. "I didn't say this had anything to do with the legends."
"But you're thinking it, aren't you?"
He crossed his arms. 'It is not your place to tell me what I do and do not think, young lady." His tone was quiet and dangerous. He gestured to the glass. "Now, please..."
She glanced to him, and to the glass, and back again. She stared at the glass momentarily, not wanting it to move.
She stood up. "Father, I refuse to pursue this any further. I've had just about enough of it all. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to pack for this weekend." And she began to walk out of the room.
"Sarabi, come back here," he said evenly.
She stopped but didn't turn. 'Yes, father?"
"Look at me when I'm speaking to you."
She did, her eyes like little sheets of ice. And Shere realized all at once that she was a woman. His little girl...wasn't. It was an odd realization at an odd time, but he saw that he could not take this tone with Sarabi any longer. Orly was still young enough, but he could tell that Sarabi was finding it merely insulting.
And she had a right to.
She was waiting for his response. 'You were saying something, father?"
He was quiet for a moment, and then replied, "Go pack your things."
She nodded, puzzled, and walked out of the office.
Behind him, Shere heard a tiny "clink"
He turned, and saw that the glass on his desk had fallen over.
Sarabi went to her room. There was something at her door.
Flowers. A dozen roses.