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Sonuachara Chapter 14

Zoe gave Trina an assessing look. "Come on," she said, shaking her head slightly and slipping an arm around the blonde's waist. "You look half dead."

Trina leaned against her as Zoe helped her up the narrow— but luckily not too steep— stairs. "There we go," Zoe said, helping her out into the bedroom. "Now, into bed with... you." Her voice trailed off as she realized the room wasn't empty, and she stiffened.

"Are you all right?" Angie asked, crossing the room to help Zoe hold her daughter up. "She's got a nightgown in the top dresser drawer," she said, as they eased the girl onto the bed. "Could you get it?"

Zoe nodded, relaxing as she realized Angie didn't seem to be angry, just concerned. Concerned was okay. She searched through the nightgowns, picking the least skimpy one from the 'comfy' pile, although she hesitated momentarily over a bit of red silk which... well, she was only human.

From behind her, Angie said, "Pick whichever one you want— I'm not going to get upset."

She stiffened again, then carefully closed the drawer, turning with the soft, white cotton in her hands. "I wasn't choosing it for your comfort," she said, quietly.

Angie looked at her for a moment, and her face softened. "I'm sorry. I was just trying to tease you a little, and let you know I'm okay with this at the same time. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings."

Zoe thought for a moment, considering, then nodded stiffly and changed the subject, handing Angie the gown. "You're more worried than she was. She said she was fine, just tired. Is that... incorrect?"

Angie shook her head. "No. She doesn't look like there's anything wrong with her. She's just overdone it a bit." She smiled at Zoe. "It's a mother's prerogative to worry, however."

"Good," Zoe said, relaxing again. "I wasn't sure."

Angie looked down at her daughter, who appeared to be on the verge of sleep. "Honey, you need to get changed."

Trina nodded, and reached for her shirt, moving almost in slow motion, as Angie looked back up at Zoe. "It can take a while for the full cost of the magic to hit; it's not exactly like physical fatigue. I know she was doing something, and I think I know what it was about, but can you tell me what she did?"

Oblivious to Zoe's presence, Trina pulled the shirt over her head and tossed it on the floor.

"No. I don't think so. It's really not mine to tell," Zoe said, turning her back part-way. "But if you're here to help her, she doesn't really need me anymore, I guess."

"Of course she does," Angie said, calmly. "Or, at least, she wants you here, I'm sure."

"Please?" Trina said, softly, looking up at Zoe with big, tired eyes.

"Please what?" Zoe asked, involuntarily glancing back over her shoulder.

"Stay?"

"I need to... I should... I ought to...." Zoe bit her lip. "All right. If that's what you want."

"Thank you," Trina said.

"Do you want to tell me?" Angie asked, looking down at her daughter.

"I'm decent," Trina said to Zoe, before looking back at her mother, obviously somewhat more awake. "Eric and Julie showed up at the party... together."

Angie didn't seem even slightly surprised. "You know I never liked her, and I have no idea what you saw in him. But yes, I know. Security informed us after they escorted them out."

Zoe gave a quick look over her shoulder, to be sure Trina really was adequately dressed, and sat gingerly on the edge of the bed as Trina tugged back the blanket in invitation. "Well, if she'd just wanted him," the blonde said, climbing in and leaning back against the headrest, "I wouldn't have cared, but she was deliberately trying to hurt me, and she ruined my party. So I decided to... get even." She looked at Zoe for a moment, then hesitantly patted the other side of the bed, far enough away that Zoe wouldn't have to touch her.

"I thought that might be the case," Angie said, calmly. "Who did you invoke, and what exactly did you do?"

"Well, Ceridwen and Bel, of course, and Dana and Mannanan. And... the Morrigan," Trina said, as Zoe kicked off her boots and crawled up to sit cross-legged on the covers.

"The Morrigan?" Trina's mother turned so that she could see both of them. "You must have been angry."

Trina nodded, not seeming even slightly embarrassed by that observation. "I was. I didn't go overboard, though. At least I don't think so. She tried to publicly humiliate me, so she's going to be humiliated."

Angie raised a questioning eyebrow.

Trina grinned wickedly, and leaned forward. "Well, here's the thing. I know she and Sharon Anders have a thing going. And they have a habit of sneaking into the storeroom in the gym to make out. Or, well, actually more than make out, if you know what I mean. Sooo...."

Angie blinked, looking at Trina, and the corners of her mouth began to turn up.

"The Morrigan's going to make sure they get caught," Trina said. "Nice and publicly."

"You, my daughter, have a devious mind," Angie said, fighting back laughter. "On the other hand, I'd say she earned it."

Trina's smirk faded as she saw the discontented look on Zoe's face. "What's wrong?" she said.

"That's it?" Zoe asked. "Trina... you've volunteered to go through the same damned thing!"

"No, no, I haven't," Trina said, the smirk returning full-force. "There's a difference between coming out and... what's going to happen to them. I don't know how she's going to arrange it, but she said she would. I have to admit I'm going to enjoy it."

"I still don't think it's enough. Not even close. Especially not for something that wiped you out that bad."

"Trust me," Trina said, reaching for Zoe's hand. "Afterwards, if you still don't think it's enough, we can come up with something else."

Zoe frowned. "Well... all right. We will."

"There's something else I wanted to talk about," Trina said, after a moment's hesitation. "I wanted to wait until we were up here with Mom, though, because I wanted her advice about it."

Zoe stiffened for a moment, then sighed, smiling at her. "I did tell you it was open season on talking about things, didn't I?"

Trina nodded. "Do... do you remember when I was invoking the Morrigan?"

"I'm not entirely certain," Zoe said, shaking her head. "I wasn't trying to memorize things."

"Well, okay," Trina said. "Did anything... odd happen? Did you feel anything strange?"

"Maybe," Zoe said, hesitating. "I'm not sure yet."

"Well, the Morrigan... apparently she's... interested in you. She likes you," Trina said, sounding like she wasn't sure it was a good thing.

"Don't worry about it," Zoe said. "I'm an atheist, anyway. You know that."

"I know," Trina said, looking worried. "That's what bothers me."

Zoe frowned. "Why?"

"Because if the Morrigan decides to prove her existence to you, it might not be all that comfortable for you," Angie said, looking somewhat worried herself. "The Morrigan... we treat her with respect and caution, always, and I would strongly advise you to do the same. I'm not saying you should be afraid of her, but you must understand, she has a great deal of power, and her aspects are not the most pleasant things. War, revenge... these are dark things. Not evil, although they can be, but dark, nonetheless. A wise person does not take her lightly."

"I'm not stupid, Trina," Zoe said. "I'm not going to insist something isn't real when I've seen it, just because it doesn't fit with my default beliefs. But... look... I don't do religion. Period. I've always said that even if there was concrete proof of the existence of god, that'd still be no reason to worship him, her, or it. I'm responsible to myself for my own actions, and I choose based on my own code. That's enough for me, and it's not going to change."

"Why do you think that would preclude the Morrigan's interest in you?" Angie asked, looking at Zoe curiously.

"It doesn't, I guess," Zoe said, shrugging. "But it does make it irrelevant."

"Why is that?" Angie seemed honestly curious.

"Because it doesn't matter if it... she?... is interested in me or not, because I don't return the interest. I make it fine on my own, without the support of a deity."

"I can see that," Angie said, nodding. "On the other hand, would you turn down a job offer from anyone else without at least finding out what they want and what they're offering?"

"After running my own business all my life?" Zoe laughed. "You ever seen someone who took a job after being their own boss? Talk about miserable...."

"Wouldn't that depend on the job?" Trina asked. "I mean, what if it's something you'd have done anyway?"

"A contract deal, maybe," Zoe said. "But as I understand it, gods are big on lifetime loyalty."

"That's the usual deal." Angie said nodding. "It's not the only one, though. Even if you're sure you're going to turn her down, I'd advise you to hear her out. She's not someone you want to offend."

Zoe shrugged. "If I started worrying about offending people I shouldn't, I'd spend all my time hiding under the bed. I don't give a damn... the worst anyone can do to me is kill me, anyway."

Angie looked at her, dead serious. "No. No, it isn't."

"No. It isn't," Zoe said, frowning. "But... as long as it's just me, it still doesn't matter. It would be just me, right?"

"I can't see her involving anyone else unless you challenged her to do so, and I can't see you being that stupid. So, no, it would just be you."

"Then there's not a problem," Zoe said, relaxing.

"If she does make you an offer, though," Trina said, "I'd think about it. She's got Power, with a capital P. If she offers you something, she can probably follow through on it."

"I can't think of any offer worth giving up freedom for," Zoe said, shrugging.

"She wouldn't necessarily want that," Angie said. "She's... hard to understand. Even Mother and Father don't understand her, and they've known her for a long time. I can't begin to guess what she'd ask you for. It might be something that doesn't affect any of us in any great way, but ties into something else she's doing somewhere."

"Don't worry about it," Zoe said, shaking her head.

Trina smiled. "We won't, then. I just wanted to make sure you understood."

"I don't entirely, yet," Zoe admitted. "But I will."

"Good," Angie said. She gave them both a smile, moving to the door. "I'll leave you two alone, then. Good night."

"Night," Trina replied, as her mother closed the door behind her.