Sunday, September 16, 2012

The crow alights on the railing. It cocks its head and caws as Keon touches the buzzer for Tori, or what is soon to be Tori and Tannr's, apartment. Glancing over his shoulder Keon takes a step to his left, effectively hiding the bird from the street.

It shudders. Ruffling feathers, the bird puffs itself up in size. Moments later a young man dressed in black, with a mane of ragged black hair, stands before the Dark Lord.

"She's not there." He smiles, the expression taking years away, making him seem much younger. "Can't have Tannr coming back for something and seeing her before the wedding." He glances around, lowering his voice. "If its trouble, take it to the Doc."

A bright smile lights the Dark Lord's face as he taps the box under his arm. "Good news, Talon. The dress is here."

The kid grins and a squawk sounds overhead. Both look up as another crow circles and flies off. The kid's words seem to come from a ball of feathers as he shifts back into his animal form.

"The twins take word. Viper is at Grace's old place. She will be expecting you."

The bird launches upward, catching a thermal and chases after the other.

A pizza delivery is in progress as Keon approaches the shop. The boxes disappear around the side of the building as Tori's night clerk pays for the stack of pies. She nods to Keon, gesturing to the back of the shop with her head.

"She's waiting." Keon takes the stairs two at a time. The door to the rooms upstairs opens as he reaches the landing. A white-faced Tori gestures him inside. He sets the box on a table and only then does he realize there are several people in the room.

Ob and Pandora are sitting on the couch, Tori's laptop open on the low table in front of them. He can hear Traeger's voice. Teri is reaching toward the screen, trying to touch "Poppy". Chloe looks up at his entrance, waves, and goes back to watching her grandfather.

"You are having family time. Don't let me interfere." As he turns to go, Tori lays a hand on his arm.

"Stay. I want your opinion on something."

She takes the box and goes into the bedroom. Ob looks at the closed door and tells his family to close their thoughts tight. He grins at Keon as the Sidhe take a seat, waiting for Tori to return. Pandora turns the laptop, so Traeger can see Tori when she emerges.

Chloe giggles and explains aloud to Teri. "Tante Tori don't want Tante Ike to see her dress, cause Tante Ike is... she is no bueno, not good, at secrets."

The little boy blinks at his sister, then stares at the door. A look of fierce concentration comes over his face. Keon reaches for the diaper bag beside the couch and Ob laughs.

"It isn't what you think, amigo. He is just blocking his Aunt from reading his thoughts." A loud sound, followed by a noxious smell, erupts from the boy. "Well maybe you were right. too."

Ob takes his son and checks his diaper. He tosses the boy up, catching him easily. The toddler laughs. "*Usted pequeño monstruo. Tú apestas!" The boy giggles and puts a hand over mouth and nose. "SI! Peee-yooooo Teri!"

The bedroom door opens and Tori peeks out. "Block what you see. I don't want Ike knowing. She'll see it tomorrow.."

She waits a moment, finally emerging. She takes a step into the room and the skirt parts slightly, exposing a bit of bare leg. When she stops moving it closes as if seamless.

"What do you think?" There is silence, Finally Traeger breathes "beautiful..." as if the word was never uttered before.

Tori blushes, her pale cheeks flaming as red as her hair. Her hands press at her cheeks. "I've never worn anything like this. The picture was a short dress. I told Keon what I had in mind and he said he knew just who to make it." She glides across the floor, pale green chiffon-like fabric fluttering with each step. She clasps her hands as she stands before Keon, unsure of herself. "I know a person should never thank a Fae..." She licks her lips, "But... Keon, I dinna ken what ta say but I - "

The Dark Lord waves his hand, stopping her with the gesture. "Ye have slipped into brogue. That tells me far more than you can say." He grins and stands, taking Tori's hands in his. "Besides, I was right. Mab's seamstress did wonders. It is perfect." Before Tori can say anything, Keon confides. "The Dark Queen's head seamstress owed me a favor. She no longer does."

Tori's fingers stroke the fabric in wonder. "It won't turn into leaves and moss by morning, will it?"

Keon laughs. "No, not this." At the curious looks on the children's faces, Keon drops onto the floor. "Let me tell you the story of the greedy man who sought to cheat a young peasant who had the favor of a Fae maiden." He launches into the tale as Pandora and Tori talk hair and jewelry. 

 Ob's voice pulls at his attention. He tells the children to give him a minute. Ob is asking what she is doing instead of a veil. Keon laughs. "That is already solved." Three heads turn his way. Keon smiles. "Star... need I say more?"

Tori asks what Star has in mind and Keon describes the floral ring. Tori begins to tear. Pandora hands her a tissue. As she wipes her eyes, the Gargoyle tells them. "When I was married in the Highlands, I was made to wear a wimple and head torque with a covering veil. What I wanted was a ring of flowers, like the girls in the village where Ike and I would spend time." She stifles a sob. "I need to take this off. Pan, please help me? I don't want to tear it."

The women disappear into the bedroom and Ob settles on the arm of the couch. "Finish the story Keon, I've never heard this version." The Sidhe Lord obliges and the children are giggling at the greedy man opening his chest of "gold" to find autumn leaves and bits of moss when the women return.

"So you are willing to forgo your usual spikes for soft curls... What about jewelry?"

Tori sighs. "The necklace is a given. The viper that Tannr gave me. Nothing replaces that. Traeger's apprentice gave me a cleaning kit so I will be polishing it tonight." She glances at Ob. "No. No bachelorette party. I am spending the night relaxing and tomorrow as stone. When I wake I will wear the pantsuit to the park. Silk has a pavillion that will be waiting for me. She is picking up the dress tonight and keeping it safe until I arrive." She reaches up to touch an ear. "The only thing I haven't figured out is earrings."

Pandora offers her the loan of a pair of emerald studs. Tori accepts with a sigh. "I just wish I could find something that dangles..."

*You little monster. You stink!"

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