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TS40: Must Say

“Aden, one moment.” It was a chance encounter, nothing planned. On the way to the infirmary Jove and Chris ran into their rabbit friend. Jove ran ahead and asked, “What are you doing for dinner tonight? I have something I need to talk to you about.”

“What’s up?”

“I think I figured something out about my magic, and I could use your help.” Jove felt a twinge of fear at what might happen. “It’s a bit complicated for now.”

Aden nodded. “That’s fine. I’ll meet you at the cafeteria later. I need to ask you about my character for your Lucid game.” He paused, “Did you need more time to plan? I know you’ve been through a lot this week.”

Jove blinked. “I should be okay to run game next week.” Jove’s mind silently added it depended on his friends still speaking to him. “There’s some kind of practice happening with the Earth Lodge in the gym. Julius threw his knee out and we were going to check on him.”

“I won’t keep you then.” The rabbit thought for a moment and shrugged. “I wonder if there’s a Fire Lodge.”

Chris said, “One for each element and others.”

Aden nodded, “Thanks. Maybe I’ll look them up.” He stepped away and waved as he headed down the hall. “Let me know if Julius is okay and I’ll see you at dinner.”

After Aden walked off, Chris mentioned, “We should talk before we check on Julius.”

Jove thought for a moment and pulled out Aether. “Let’s see… School information. Maps. Cool, there’s a lounge nearby. Maybe it’ll be quiet.”

A short time later, Chris and Jove ducked into an unused sitting area. It was only an alcove on one of the hallways with a small table, two couches, and a few padded chairs. Chris sat down in one of the chairs. Jove found himself twiddling his fingers without words. Thoughts of Tan’s reaction still haunted Jove.

“Chris, you know how I calmed South’s magic?” The words felt heavy and each one got harder to say. “I know I’ve been subconsciously working on your geas and I am afraid that I might be doing more. Not on purpose.”

Chris watched Jove speak. The wolf showed no reaction to the news.

“I don’t know how far my ability goes.” Jove sighed. “I know your parents hurt you and I don’t want to do the same thing.” The silence cut into Jove. “Tan didn’t react well. Please, say something.”

The reaction was slow. Perhaps it was debated inside the wolf’s mind. “I prefer to let people find their own answers. You already know what I’m about to say.” Chris stood up and put his hands on Jove’s shoulders. “However, this is something that cannot be implied. You need me to say it out loud. You saved me from my father. I decided before we met that I would protect you no matter what.”

Jove winced at the devotion in the words. “Am I worth that?”

“Jove, you will make me whole.” Chris held Jove’s shoulders, preventing the fox from pulling away. “I accepted that I might end up molded to your desire. It’s all right.”

Jove felt a sudden rush of heat and embarrassment. He looked down, away from Chris’ face. “I have no right.”

“That knowledge is more than I could have hoped for.” Chris lifted Jove’s chin with a hand and looked into Jove’s eyes. “You will be careful, because you understand the responsibility.”

“But I-”

Chris pulled Jove into a hug, arms wrapped tightly around the fox. “The only reason I’m not kissing you right now is because you need me to keep a level head.” He spoke slowly emphasizing each word, “It is okay.”

“But what about Tan?” Jove tried to push Chris away, but his heart wasn’t in it.

“You have enough on your mind without pressure about who you want to spend the rest of your life with. My feelings for you are mine. When you’re ready to face your own feelings, I expect that I will not be the only one who wants to be chosen.” The wolf held Jove tighter. “Whatever your choice, it does not affect the feelings I have. People fall in love with equals, not retainers.”

Jove suddenly felt very uncomfortable. He pulled away, “I mean, he freaked when I told him. He said he was a copy.” Jove paused, “I mean, he freaked out when I showed him I can copy spells. I guess I didn’t mention that. It doesn’t seem as bad.”

“Depends on what you can copy.”

Jove said, “When I copy Venator, I am Venator. When I copy Praeda, I am Praeda. I don’t know about Vorax. Actually, I haven’t really had a chance to experiment.”

Chris didn’t have to respond. They both knew that would be a problem. He shook his head. “You’re not a bad person. The other mages will understand.”

“You don’t know that.” Tan’s fear stuck in Jove’s mind. The demand to leave him alone echoed in Jove’s shame. “Tan knew what it meant. How others would react.”

The wolf grasped Jove’s shoulders. “Calm down. You don’t know why Tan reacted the way he did. You can also let people continue to think you’re a null. At this point, that’ll cause fewer rumors.”

The memory of Tan’s fear seemed clear. As it played in his mind again, Jove wondered if it was fear. Jove assumed it was because he might control others. Tan was much more concerned at being copied. The panic calmed into a dull throb of concern in his bones. “Azarias will know what to do when he gets back.” He shivered. “I hope the council representative lets us talk.”

The wolf’s eyes went wide for a moment, but he remained silent. Jove felt the concern flare anew. He remembered South saying the Council was superstitious. Jove wondered if their representative would be as well.

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