|Wonder City Stories (wonder_city) wrote,|
@ 2011-12-28 12:39 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||damned_yankee, ebb, flo, lady_justice, simon, suzanne, the_equestrian|
Suzanne hurried out of the kitchen of the Stars 'n' Garters on Simon's heels. Simon, for his part, bolted out the cafe door after Nereid, speedy even on two legs. The Equestrian and Lady Justice were standing, looking after him.
"That sounded like a suboptimal result," Suzanne said, grimacing.
"Damn noisy kids!" the Damned Yankee exclaimed from behind his newspaper. "All on drugs, the lot of 'em!"
"I found out what I needed to find out," the Equestrian said, sighing and sitting down. "He arranged it all. I can check that little monster hunt off my to-do list."
"And you picked out some of the holes in the rest of his story," Lady Justice said, edging around the Equestrian to put an arm around Flo's shoulders.
"If he shows his face anywhere near me," Flo said through gritted teeth, "I will damn well shatter his bones and crush him to paste and wash the rest away into the sewers."
"I know, dear," Lady J said, her hand pat-patting Flo's very tense shoulder.
Suzanne poked her head back through the kitchen door curiously. Ebb was sitting on his stool next to the prep table, crumpling his little white cook's hat in his hands. He looked up at her bleakly. "Will she be all right?" he whispered.
She took a leaf from Lady J and patted him on the shoulder awkwardly. "Teenagers are very resilient," she said. "And she has her friends."
"I know Molly said it had to be done," he said, still in a low voice, "but I wish... I wish we could've warned her or something. It was just so brutal."
Suzanne hugged the man in a spontaneous rush of affection. He was a soft, round teddy bear of a man who smelled of fried food. "I really do think it will be all right, Ebb."
By silent agreement, everyone settled in to waiting for Simon, at least, to return. The Equestrian and Lady J fell to playing chess. Suzanne took over Madame Destiny's table with her laptop and wrote. Flo and Ebb went about the business of their cafe, dealing with a number of takeout customers as the dinner hour drew close. Damned Yankee cursed kids and drugs and the war several times. The Tinkerer never looked up, but continued to, as far as Suzanne could tell, disassemble and reassemble a pocket watch.
Molly got antsier and antsier as the hours drew on. She stood up and moved around restlessly, muttering to no one in particular that it was her responsibility to see this all the way through, and returning to her game.
It was dark by the time that Simon reappeared in the diner. "I caught up with her," he said, flopping down in the chair opposite Lady J. Suzanne got up and hugged him from behind. He gave her a tired smile over a sagging shoulder.
"Well?" the Equestrian said irritably.
"She was upset," he said, pausing to smile and thank Flo for the soda she brought him. "Obviously. He'd just vanished when he left -- I couldn't even track his scent."
"He learned a little something over there, then," Molly said. "Something for covering his tracks. Probably some other glamour too."
"Well, he did it pretty well," Simon said. "I got her to sit down and stop running around calling him and things. And then she cried a lot. But..." He stopped and looked perplexed while taking a long drink. "She didn't... like... leak at all. Usually she's so, um, soggy, you know?" He looked at the Equestrian and Flo, clearly baffled.
Lady Justice laughed without any trace of humor. "She's been learning control. Because she has to. Because she's killed someone."
"My poor girl," Ebb said from the doorway.
"She did what she had to do," Flo said, in his general direction, "and I'm proud of her for it."
Simon sighed. "She... felt different while we were talking. Anyway, she cried for a long while, and she was really angry with you guys. I don't think she'll be talking to you for at least a couple of days," he added with a twisted smile.
Lady J mirrored his smile, but Molly was on her feet again, pacing. "So what happened next? Did he show up?"
"No," Simon said. "I finally walked her back to her flat at the Cosmics. And... he'd tossed it. The whole place. Anything that wasn't nailed down and was reasonably portable, he took. Cash she had in a nightstand drawer, her laptop, her StarSeed, some jewelry -- that made her laugh in a way I'd never heard from her before -- even her clock-radio. Anything that looked like it might be expensive or pawnable, I guess, to him."
"Little bastard," Flo, Molly, and Suzanne all said simultaneously.
"Anyway, she cried some more, and I think she would've sat there on the floor in the mess, crying, if I hadn't started cleaning up." Simon finished his drink. "That was what really took so long. He made a thorough -- spiteful -- mess of the place."
"I wish she'd gotten a chance to throw him out," Lady J said. "It would've felt much better for her."
"How do we find him now?" Flo said.
"We don't," the Equestrian said, finally standing still. "It's over, except for the crying and other things. He's got Faerie magic to help him hide out, and some money. It'll be very difficult to track him."
"But surely...!" Flo said, turning to her angrily. After a short, silent staring match, Flo dropped her gaze. "He doesn't deserve to be able to do that to my daughter," she said, hunching her shoulders a bit. "Not and get away with it."
"I promise that if I encounter him," the Equestrian said, "I will deal with him accordingly."
"Flo, I understand," Lady J said, "but we all have better things to do than go on a manhunt for this... Aloysius."
"There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it," Suzanne quoted thoughtfully.
Simon let out a short bark of a laugh. "Well, in terms of people who do matter, I left Pacifica in an apartment that was much cleaner than she left it this afternoon, I daresay, with an impossibly cheerful android for company."
"You're a good man, Simon," Flo said with a sigh, stroking his cheek. "Thank you for taking care of her."
"Any time," Simon said, standing.
The gathering had started to become awkward, so Suzanne snatched up her purse and laptop and they departed in a flurry of farewells.
In the car, Simon closed his eyes and laid his head back against the headrest. "Jasmine could have handled all that better," he said wearily.
Suzanne started the car and looked over at him. "You handled it as it should be handled," she said. "You did the needful things. That's all anyone can do."
He opened his eyes and smiled at her. "You're the expert on that, love."
Note from the Author:
Here is the final episode for 2011. I expect it's just made y'all angrier at Aloysius, because he's a right little asshat. Still, Simon's getting a bit overworked in terms of helping resolve crap, poor guy.
See y'all in 2012!
Please remember to vote for WCS!