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J is for Jewelry? A catkin ficlet

So, this is a continuation of Tom and Jeri's story. Hmmmm...writing it that way, well, I have to admit that my subconscious self must be laughing at my conscious self. I hadn't realized until right now that these characters are namesakes of that famous cartoon! I do want to keep him as "Tom", but now I wonder if I should change Jeri's name. (You're welcome to weigh in on this suddenly earth-shattering question.)

Anyway, for people who don't want to pick up this story in the middle, here is a glimpse of Tom as a boy: E is for Education, and here are the two bits that lead directly up to this one. D is for Dancing and F is for Witch/Familiar relations.

Jewelry?

Jeri looked around as she arrived at Mrs. Maher’s. There was a little stage in one corner, currently adorned with several guitars and a bodhran. There was a small dance floor in front of that, a well-stocked bar, and lots of tables.

Tom waved at her from a spot near the stage, smiling. His long blond hair was loose around his shoulders, a much more attractive look than she’d seen before, though she had to admit a ponytail was practical for acrobatic dancing.

Jeri smiled back and weaved her way through the tables. They exchanged pleasantries and Tom took her coat, hanging it on a hook nearby. A waiter showed up with menus. He greeted Tom by name, and Tom introduced Jeri.

“So, you’re a regular here?”

Tom nodded. “They have good food, good drink, good music, and a place to dance. What more does a man need?”

Jeri found herself grinning back at him. “Magic?”

His grin widened. “Touche! But now that you’re here, this place has it all.”

They ordered drinks and Tom settled back a bit. “I’ll have friends arriving in a while; if we’re going to talk about magic, you might want to do it now.”

Jeri nodded. “I don’t exactly have a syllabus, you know. Familiars mostly can’t read.” She kept her tone light. “But I do want your company for a few evenings. I can’t promise anything flashy, though.”

Tom leaned forward. “Is something going on? You sound worried.”

He was perceptive—either through the familiar bond or just noticing details she tried to hide. Despite herself, Jeri wondered what it would be like to actually date someone this sensitive to her moods.

“Yes, a little. My friends—my human friends—have all been having a run of bad luck. Cars breaking down, plumbing exploding, chimneys tottering, co-workers quitting for no reason, all sorts of things. Stuff that happens, but not to everyone all at once.”

“My friends too, now that you mention it.”

“I’m afraid there’s something magical that’s increasing entropic effects, hopefully by accident. I want to drive around the city and see if I can find—well, I really don’t know what.” She looked up at him, “You drive, right? It would be easier if you could drive so I can focus on the magic.”

He tossed his hair back decorously, a bit of a frown showing on his face. “Of course I can drive. What do you—“

Jeri put her hand out to touch him, felt the comforting spark of the familiar bond as they touched. “I didn’t mean anything by that; I just didn’t want to presume. Most of my human friends drive, but only about half of the magical ones.” She rummaged in her purse and brought out a box. “I—I have something for you.”

“A gift? It’s not my birthday.”

“This—or something like it—is traditional. It’s the first gift a witch gives to her familiar. I—I hope you like it. I tried to pick a form that would be suitable.” She slid it across the table, like a peace offering.

“You’re nervous.” It wasn’t a question, but at least it wasn’t an accusation.

He lifted the box and opened it. Inside was a heavy gold chain with an enameled triskel set as a centerpiece, in line with the chain rather than dangling like a pendant.

“This is awfully expensive for a first date.”

Jeri frowned. “It isn’t about the date. You agreed to a season. I have obligations. Ignoring magical obligations, well it isn’t wise.”

“Obli—“ He dropped the necklace back into the box, frowning. “You had to get me a collar? Why not just buy a leather one with spikes!”

Jeri felt herself blushing. “I didn’t know you swung that way.”

They glared at each other and suddenly burst out laughing at the same moment. The connection between them thrummed like a harpstring, reassuring them that the other didn’t mean harm, and the anger just couldn’t hold up to that sure, inner knowledge.

The waiter brought drinks and took food orders, and smiled when they had trouble stopping the laughter long enough to speak.

Eventually, though, Tom pushed the box back toward Jeri. “Seriously, this isn’t necessary. Take it to the store and get your money back.”

Jeri shook her head. “Seriously, it is necessary. That isn’t store-bought, it was made by a catkin craftsman and carries several layers of enchantment. The simplest one marks you as my familiar, so you can go places and talk to people on my behalf when needed.”

He frowned again, and Jeri rushed to complete what she had to say before he interjected. “The second enchantment provides you with some protections that you will need in case I lose control of a spell and the magic backlashes, or someone sends a magical attack our way, or we stumble into something that you have no natural protection against. The third—well, the third was a special gift for you, and will remain active even if we no longer have this connection.”

He closed his mouth again and raised his eyebrows.

“The third is the gift of what some people call The Sight—so long as you wear the necklace, you will be able to see, hear, and even smell things that normal humans can’t.”

“Like the ephemerals?”

She nodded. “And a lot more.”

“Even if I stop being your familiar?”

“Yes. You refused to let me support you, so you are due a substantial gift. I hope this one is acceptable. It’s not an easy enchantment to perform.”

He smiled slowly, and lifted the necklace out of the box. “I’ve always wanted to see the ephemerals.”

“They can be very distracting. Also, one could argue that I chose that enchantment more for my convenience than yours. I must give you a necklace or collar, but it doesn’t have to be this one—“

“No, I like this one very much. Thank you.”

__________________

Thank you to skajm for today's prompt, and to dreamwidth user Claredragonfly, ankewehner and kelkyag for the prompts to the earlier ficlets I linked to at the top of this post.

If you like what you read, and want to encourage me to put more time into one or another of my projects, please let me know. Requests from people who sponsor me will get priority!





Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
msstacy13
Jan. 31st, 2015 01:18 pm (UTC)
Hmmm...
Tom and Jeri
Means
Great
Magic ???
wyld_dandelyon
Jan. 31st, 2015 02:25 pm (UTC)
Hmmm...

Perhaps.
rowyn
Jan. 31st, 2015 08:16 pm (UTC)
“Obli—“ He dropped the necklace back into the box, frowning. “You had to get me a collar? Why not just buy a leather one with spikes!”

Jeri felt herself blushing. “I didn’t know you swung that way.”


*laughs!*
wyld_dandelyon
Feb. 1st, 2015 04:20 am (UTC)
Thank you.
kelkyag
Feb. 1st, 2015 03:33 am (UTC)
More bad luck? Are the various catkin threads going to twist together?
wyld_dandelyon
Feb. 1st, 2015 04:19 am (UTC)
I'm thinking I should make Sandie one of the queens that was at the courting dance. But which name to change?
kelkyag
Feb. 1st, 2015 05:03 am (UTC)
The new one isn't named, there. But that story would give Sandie a number of obvious locals to call on for assistance ...
red_trillium
Mar. 7th, 2015 01:04 am (UTC)
Late to comment, but I've had this tab open for awhile. I read this & I do like it. I feel like your writing has developed & improved. I have been perpetually behind in my reading & stuff since forever it seems so have only read from time to time. Thank you for sharing.
wyld_dandelyon
Mar. 7th, 2015 01:22 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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