Amadhay surprised Atlas when she just appeared inside her bubble with him.
He had been lounging on her bed, having had gone through all of her belongings at least twice. He was bored and her restraining circle was severely limiting his ability to do what he wanted. In fact, despite being impressed by the circle, he was also incredibly irritated by it. At least the first one had been weak enough for him to send things out of it and bring other things in. But this one, he could barely stand to touch. Every time he did, it siphoned power from him to stabilize itself.
Which was why Amadhay just appearing in the bubble took him by surprise. With the last one, she had been stuck in the barrier itself, soaking in all the power and energy it had gathered while she was gone. This one she just went right through with no trouble. There wasn’t even a moment of pause, which he knew because she was just abruptly next to him on her bed, not caught in the magic again.
“I see you’re back and looking no worse for the wear,” he stated, smiling at her to cover his surprise.
She smiled, turning onto her side. “Piece of cake,” she said. “No double fang is a match for me.”
He looked her over silently, noting the messy curls that were normally tamed, the makeup on her cheeks that partially covered her spoors, the blue contacts, and the black jacket partially covering her loose purple top, a stark contrast to the tight red one she had been wearing. Her self-satisfied smile screamed of success and he loved it. He loved her relaxed body lying next to him on her bed as if there were no worries in the world.
“I’m here to take you back to the interrogation room,” she said, cutting into his thoughts. He raised an eyebrow at her. “So will you just come or am I going to have to get rough?”
He smirked slowly, propping himself up on an elbow. “I would love to see you get rough.”
“I can assure you that you wouldn’t,” she immediately retorted, rolling her eyes. The contact was off-kilter, showing bits of red on one side.
“And I can assure you that I would,” he whispered into her ear, lingering with his lips almost touching the tip of it just long enough to feel her shiver. He pulled back with a knowing smirk and sat up, holding his hands in the classic surrender position. “But I promise to be good. I won’t even tease you anymore.”
Amadhay snorted in disbelief, but then she too sat up. “You know I’ve thought really hard on this,” she started, standing up. “And I think I know why you’re here and doing what you are.”
Atlas gave her an untroubled smile, knowing that if she did, she wouldn’t be as calm as she was. She wouldn’t be in here, alone with him. She would have set off some alarm and she obviously hadn’t. “And what am I doing, Mayday?” he asked as he stood up.
At the use of her nickname, Amadhay frowned. She looked around. “Where’s Mayday?” she asked uncertainly. There was a shift of air that implied she used her Gift to search for the kitten, but all he saw was a slight shift of her hair. She stood before him, arms crossed and look foreboding. “Where. Is. Mayday?” she demanded.
Atlas shrugged, feeling a bit nonplussed at her reaction. He hadn’t planned for that. He hadn’t planned for her to notice the kitten’s absence. It was already changing his plans again. He didn’t understand how she could do that.
In the time it took him to blink his eyes, he was on his back on the bed with her atop him, a blade to his throat. “We keep ending up here,” he joked.
“Shut up,” she commanded, pressing the blade against his throat so that he felt the sharp edge with every breath. “Where the Water is your kitten, Atlas? I know he was in here when I left, so where is he now?”
“Why are you so worried?” he asked, completely unconcerned by the blade. She couldn’t kill him with a simple blade. “He’s just a kitten.”
“He’s your kitten. A kitten you’ve been talking to like it could understand you. So forgive me if I’m a little wary about not having a location for it.”
He hadn’t thought she had noticed that. “He’s just a kitten, Amadhay. I sent him home so he wouldn’t have an accident in here.”
“And how did you send him home? Unless I am sorely mistaken, you are bound to this place until that circle is broken.”
He grinned, seeing curiosity start to get the best of her when she was no longer pressing the blade to his throat in some angry misguided scheme to intimidate him. “This one, yes. The last one needed a little help.”
She flushed for a brief click before she was glaring at him again. “And you just sent your kitten home. Right.”
This time he gave her a patronizing smile. “Honestly, Amadhay, what kind of impact can a kitten have? Even if I didn’t send him home, he’d be lost around here. And I suspect at least one of your contemporaries might notice an unaccounted for kitten wandering around.”
Amadhay glared just past him through narrowed eyes, but she did pull back from him. Pressing a button on her wrist DS, she took a few steps back from him. An irritated female voice came from the communication device, demanding to know what she wanted this time. At a loud crunch, Amadhay winced but put the DS to her lips, watching Atlas.
“Have there been any complaints about a kitten wandering base?” she asked.
He could almost hear the eye roll from the other side. “No. And I’m not here to help you find your pets.”
“I know, Essie. But are you sure? None at all?”
“I already told you no. I’m not incompetent.”
“Fine, thanks,” Amadhay said quickly before ending the call. She still looked wary. “What else did you send with the kitten?” she wanted to know.
Atlas only smiled at her. “Are we going back to the interrogation rooms? It has a better feel for your inquisitions than your bed, no matter how comfortable we may be.”
Amadhay flushed again, turning her back to him, which told him more than anything else did, that she was already feeling very comfortable with him, which was a great accomplishment from earlier. If he had her trust enough for her to turn her back on him, he was close to where he wanted to be.
“Come on. I don’t have all day,” she snapped. He grinned at her back and stood, following after her to the edge of the barrier.
She glanced at him, as if worried that he was watching her actions, which he was. He wanted to know how she formed this barrier, considering it felt like a mixture of several different barriers he knew. He knew he could learn just as much from seeing how she took it down as would have, had he seen how she had put it up.
For starters, the fact that she was doing it slow enough for him to see, rather than using her Gift meant one of two things: either she recently learned the spell and wasn’t sure enough to do it in hyperspeed, or it could not be done while using her Gift. If it was the latter, and he thought it might be considering all the magic he’d seen her do had been at her normal speed, he wondered if it was about concentration, allocation of power, or a simple restriction of her Gift. He hoped it wasn’t a restriction of her Gift, because if it was simply about learning how to multi-task between her Gift and magic, she could become incredibly powerful one day, powerful enough to even best him. Possibly even powerful enough to kill him with that deadly cocktail running in her blood.
But she wasn’t right now, and that simple fact made him smile as he watched her. She had runes on the floor, which disappointed him a bit. Her reliance on runes was going to get her into deep trouble one day if she didn’t have an alternative plan. Ribbon could probably help her with that if she was willing to get help. Beyond the runes, her lowering of the barrier was efficient, if a bit slow. It had taken her only a few clicks to erect it, yet taking it down was taking her clacks.
Finally, she was done. The barrier was down and she was positively glowing from all of the power that had been holding the bubble in place and strong. If he looked close enough, he could see his own power within her. While it was enough to evoke a very strong positive emotion in him, he also realized that all that power was dangerous. Not for her, of course, but for him and anyone else who might try to get in her way. He wasn’t sure how long it would stay in and on her skin, but decided he could be patient. After all, he had already waited eleven years. What were a few zoots in comparison?