2012-06-04: Promise And Price


Donna_icon.jpg Fiona_icon.jpg

Summary: Donna reveals her secret to her student, and in doing so makes Fiona's life that much more difficult.

Date: June 6, 2012

Log Title: Promise and Price

Rating: PG

NYC - New Haven Apartments (Donna's Apartment)

While a good deal cleaner than the rest of the New Haven apartment block, this apartment is undeniably as run-down and shabby as it gets in Hell's Kitchen; cracked and faded wallpaper, ancient fittings, and noticeably warped bare floorboards. Whatever has been done to the place to clean it up, it's impossible to completely rid the apartment of its cheap flophouse atmosphere.

As apartments go, it's not much to speak of; small dining room/kitchenette just off the main hall, a living room that could entertain no more than three before things get uncomfortably close, a closet of a bathroom off the living room, and a bedroom door furnished with a vastly heavier lock than is found on the front door. Most of the furnishings are either cheap and flimsy, or old and battered; a fold-out couch against one wall, a cracked and peeling overstuffed chair near the apartment's single window, and the sort of cheap dining-room furniture most often seen in the lesser class of halfway houses. The only anomaly is an ornate, darkly-stained oak cabinet that folds down to the floor, containing a chaotic jumble of magical paraphernalia. Books, books, and more books, jars of powders and liquids, bundles of stubby candles and the ever-present bleached white human skull, topped with dribbly black candle.

It's closing in on sunrise, and unlike usual, Donna has stayed outside her room. Of late, the sorceress has been slightly more subdued than normal… though certainly no less of an unforgiving taskmaster when it comes to any of Fiona's lessons. But in the between time, she's been… quiet. Contemplative, staring out the window as often as down at the book in her lap. Whatever's been on her mind, it's been both large and closely kept.

Of course, along with her magical training, Donna has been toughening Fiona up physically as well - though she'll probably never be a world-class martial artist, she is to the point where she does many of the exercises on her own; and that's where she's been tonight, practicing up on the roof. For the last hour or two. She walks in the door of the apartment wearing loose, comfortable clothing; a pair of running shorts and a baggy t-shirt that's hanging down over one shoulder just slightly, and some battered tennis shoes. When she sees Donna still sitting there, she pauses, starts to say something, then thinks better of it and begins rummaging around in the fridge. She pours two glasses of orange juice, setting them on the kitchen table with a slightly shaky hand; the kind you get from being physically worn out. "You're still up," she comments, raising an eyebrow questioningly.

"I usually am," Donna says mildly, arching an eyebrow. "I just tend to prefer to stay in my room. I see I don't need to goad you quite so much… I'm glad to see it, well done." A thumb taps against the pages of the book, and with a sigh she closes it, setting it aside. "I do believe, lass, that I've done you a disservice."

"Juice?" Fiona scoots the second glass towards Donna, pausing when she hears that - the words create a confused look on her face as she flops tiredly into a chair, wicking some sweat off her forehead with the back of her hand as she gulps down her glass, "Oh… But… Wait what?" she curls one foot up, resting it on the edge of the chair. "I don't understand."

"I've been treating you wrongly in some ways," Donna says in explanation, glancing out the window again. "Not trusting you with a fairly important secret, despite all you've put up with. Largely due to the assumption that that miserable petty bastard would use it against me… Hence, I've done you a disservice. Lately, Fiona, you've been looking more sure of yourself than perhaps would have been possible, the night we first met."

"Well it's not like you didn't have anything to do with that," Fiona murmurs, glancing down at the dingy kitchen floor and studying it. "But you're right… I'm starting to, well, I mean everything is still a little crazy… but… I'm starting to feel like myself again. Or rather in control again. But. I mean. I figured you had secrets, and that's your business. Everyone has secrets."

Donna inclines her head. "Indeed, it *is* my business. But it was also something that, sooner or later, you'd need to know. So. This evening, we'll begin your true spellcasting lessons; you've absorbed theory enough not to hurt yourself should you remain smart about your work. For now, though… the secret. To put it bluntly, lass… From now on, I am willingly placing my life in your hands."

Fiona blinks, shifting uncomfortably; her breathing quickens barely perrceptibly… "I don't…" she starts, but trails off, simply biting her lip. "If you're okay with that." Somewhere down there, there's a tiny voice that strains curiously against heavy metaphorical chains…

"You don't," Donna says quietly, "but you will. I'll not lie; I'd expected to use this as a way to push your personal training to another level, and by the look of it… well, it'll still serve in such a way. But listen and heed me well, child… I've trusted *no one* else with this. I believe that my choice is as safe as it can be, and likewise I'm trusting that it matters enough for you to *ensure* its safekeeping." One last glance is tossed out the window, as false-dawn begins to give way to the warm golden spill of sunrise. "Ah… there you are."

Fiona glances out the window and then back at Donna, and then out the window again. Truth be told, she's never seen Donna during the daylight whatsoever - she ALWAYS locks herself up in her bedroom. And she was able to find those kids with relative ease when they were kidnapped by Dracula… "You're not some sorta… vampire, are you?" she blinks, squinting as the sun shines in the windows. Not in the eyes!

There's a soft chuckle, and Donna shakes her head. "No, lass… Simply cursed. You've seen what the book does for me by night… a taste of power, a promise of greater still, should I but read from its pages…" And as the sun breaks over the New York skyline, Donna seems to… sag in the chair, a puppet with its strings cut. Outwardly, she looks no different, but the limp way her hands fall to either side, the rattling breath that echoes from her throat, suggests a woman on the very edge of death's door, weak and helpless as a centenarian. "By night," she breathes, every word an effort to push out, "temptation… by day… torture… The book… lass… it *hates* me…. for defying it… and… the only way… it can get… a new bearer… is for someone… to kill me…"

"Donna!" Fiona springs to her feet, resting a hand on her teacher's shoulder for a moment before she realizes that she's not having a heart attack - she's just… in bad shape. "It… it does THIS to you?" she staggers back into her seat, propping her forehead up with one arm. "Why only during the day? I don't … I don't get it…" she trails off, "This is awful."

"Imagine…" Donna breathes, closing her eyes for a moment and swallowing. "You've… proven worthy… to bear the book… you've… murdered its last bearer… and… it wants to tempt you… to bend to its will… It is… a thing of darkness… of shadows and fear… but… you refuse to give in… so… it gives you a choice… be powerful… forever… or it takes… everything from you… when you'd be most… likely to fight it… Promise and price, child… just like… Norgatraz preys on you… when you're off your balance…"

"I see…" Fiona frowns, hands balling into fists. "Stupid thing… we should just destroy it…" she sighs; of course, Donna probably thought of that already, so it's not really even a serious discussion. "Although who knows what kind of repercussions that would have… Anyway, you trusted me and you can still trust me. Not a word of this goes to anybody."

"I know," Donna says, then spends a moment coughing. "but more… I'm… leaving my door unlocked… from now on." The unstated truth is there; as weak as she is, at this time, with door unlocked… it would be *ridiculously* easy to kill her, awake or asleep, should Norgatraz ever win. More, it would result in Fiona gaining access to power beyond anything she could wish to gain from the demon in her mind. All she'd have to do.. is trade up.

"You don't…" Fiona trails off, realizing the implications of this and not appearing all that happy about it. Sure she's in control NOW, but now she can't ever let her guard down or lose control (around Donna at least) even once during the day… not even once, or everything is lost, and well who KNOWS what would even happen after that… It's not something she cares to contemplate. "I'm going to go take a shower," she replies flatly, stalking out of the room and shutting the bathroom door. The shower is turned on, and repeated thumping of a hand into the wall is heard, but fades after a short time.

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