BRRL - Gen Five - Part Two

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Boolpropian Round Robin Legacy - Generation Five - Part Two

Staring Ainesly Doran, this begins her story in Veronaville, starting at the nearby Stratford Globe College.

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BRRL - Gen Five - Part Two

  1. 1. *SLAM*THUD*BANG* The sound of furniture being abused emanated from the dorm room occupied by Mercutio Monty and Tybalt Capp. The room had been declared ‘The War Zone’ by most of the residents of the dorm, especially those that lived nearby. Another thud was quickly followed by barely muted shouting behind the thin wood doors.
  2. 2. “It’s that time again, isn’t it?” Vinnie Miniceli, the dormie with the unfortunate mullet sighed and glanced down towards his companion Without looking away from the television, Roberto Wood nodded, “Yup. Maybe next semester they’ll have classes that start at different times.” He glanced up towards the door, “Who do you think will storm out first? My money’s on Capp leaving first this morning.” Snorting, Vinnie replied, “You’re on. Monty’s due for a power sulk.” He turned to look as well, “Three.. two.. one..”
  3. 3. The door burst open violently, shaking the entire frame of the door. Tybalt stormed out with a furious expression on his face. Inside, Mercutio shouted after him, “What the hell is your damage!? How many times do I have to tell you to leave the god damn blinds alone. How the hell am I supposed to stay asleep if you open them and the sun hits me in the face?” Under his breath, Tybalt growled, “That’s not the only thing I wish would hit you in the face.”
  4. 4. “What did you say!?” “I said you’re a lazy bastard. It’s 10am, we’ve got the same freaking class in less than an hour and you shouldn’t bitch about the sun since you need to get your ass out of bed anyway. Besides, I can’t see where my stuff is with the blinds closed. Grow up and be a man, Monty. Oh wait, your kind can’t do that.” Tybalt snarled and continued walking towards the bathroom and the waiting showers.
  5. 5. “Yeah right, I’m the one who can’t grow up. You’re the one freaking out over the room being too dark. Some of us like to sleep without a nightlight, Capp.” Mercutio followed Tybalt out of the room long enough to bellow after the retreating redhead, “That’s right, Capp. Just walk away. You know what’s good for you.” “Nice boxers, Merc.” He turned towards the new voice and instantly the frown was replaced with a sly smile, “How you doin’?”
  6. 6. “You are too much sometimes, Merc.” “Well Bo, when a man has got it, he may as well flaunt it, right?” Leaning back into an obnoxious come on gesture, Mercutio grinned, “How’d you like me to flaunt it just for you. Just so happens my roommate is gone for the afternoon.” Bottom snorted but grinned as she passed by, “Perv. Besides, we’ve both got class in just a few. Oh wait, that’s right. You’d only need a minute anyway, wouldn’t you?” “Oooh, burn!” She grinned and kept walking.
  7. 7. “Hey now, you can’t leave without giving me a chance for a comeback.” Mercutio grinned impishly and followed her, uncaring of the fact that he was still in just his boxers. Raising an eyebrow, Bottom smirked, “Well, I’d heard you’ve only got one shot in you, so why would I expect a comeback?” Across the lounge, Ainsley glanced at the exchange as she left her dorm room and headed towards the stairs.
  8. 8. It had been an interesting few weeks as the newness of her Freshman semester settled into routine. While she missed Fiona terribly, there was something to be said for not having to pick up and move every few days. There were also her classes. Since she was a Freshman who’d been admitted based on academic equivalency testing, she was required to take refresher courses in almost every subject. All in all, she didn’t mind too much. She had missed school and they had allowed her to sign up for one dance course in addition to the other courses they were requiring. If it weren’t for one persistent, mitigating factor, Ainsley might almost say she was enjoying herself.
  9. 9. Overly bright and cheerful, Bottom pulled out the chair and sat down, “Morning Roomie. This seat taken?” Ainsley quietly sighed and attempted to focus on eating her food, ignoring the gregarious young woman sitting across from her. Sometimes she felt like the rabbit that had caught the the attention of a wolf. If she held still long enough, maybe the scary thing would go away. Undeterred, Bottom settled into the chair, looking speculatively at Ainsley’s bowl of mac and cheese, “Oh damn, we missed breakfast? I definitely prefer the pancakes to that congealed mess.”
  10. 10. When Ainsley responded with silence, Bottom sighed and set aside her cheerful facade, “Look, I understand that you don’t like me or my ‘kind’, but we do have to live together. I’d like to reach some sort of detente or at least have you stop acting like my mere presence is going to infect you with a horrible disease. Sometimes I feel like your silent treatment is worse than the screaming that Merc and Ty exchange every day.” Ainsley carefully took another bite of her meal, pretending she wasn’t listening.
  11. 11. Bottom’s less than unlimited supply of patience finally ran out. Giving a frustrated groan, she said, “You’re impossible. You’re an alien damn it all. You’ve GOT to know what it’s like to have people look at you and think ‘oh one of THEM, they’re all alike’. You know that’s just total bullshit, but you treat me like I’m some carbon copy of all the other elves out there. Sure there are plenty of jerks and idiots there, but...” She paused as she realized Ainsley was still intently focused on her bowl of food, pretending she wasn’t there. Throwing her hands up in the air, Bottom pushed back angrily in her seat, “Forget it. I don’t even know why I bother. Enjoy your bowl of congealed cheese.” Not bothering to push the chair back in, she stormed away from the table.
  12. 12. As Bottom moved angrily towards the door out of the cafeteria, Mercutio came in. Missing her mood or just outright ignoring it, he flashed her a teasing grin, “Sure I can’t interest you in an up close and personal tour of my dorm room, Bottom? First time’s free.” At her angry growl, he turned to watch her leave before he turned to look speculatively at Ainsley. She kept her eyes focused on her bowl of mac and cheese. It seemed the safest thing to do.
  13. 13. “Hey.” Mercutio came over to the table and grabbed hold of the seat that Bottom had just vacated, “Can I join you?” Looking up from her food, Ainsley hesitated a moment before giving a hesitant nod, “Sure.” “Cool.” He gave a large grin and slid into the seat as he added, “I wasn’t sure you’d want company since you obviously didn’t want Bo around.” Grimacing, Ainsley looked back down at her bowl, “That’s just.. She and I don’t get along.”
  14. 14. “You two are roommates though, aren’t you?” Mercutio questioned, “I’m Mercutio, by the way. Everyone just calls me Merc. Well, ‘cept my grandmother, and then she uses my full name and says it in such a way to make me think my parents might have named me after a curse word or something.” That earned a tentative smile as she looked up, “I’m Ainsley. And yeah, we’re roommates.” “So why don’t you and she get along? I’ve known Bo since we were kids and she’s a good one.” Glancing towards the door she had just vacated, he added under his breath, “Grew up hot too.”
  15. 15. After eating the last bite of her food, Ainsley realized she had nothing to use as a distraction from his question. Looking up, she hesitated then explained, “I’d rather not get into it. I had hoped to just get another room, but..” She hesitated and then offered a rueful smile, “I guess you of all people know what they said to that.” He barked a laugh, “Yeah. It was a resounding ‘shut up and deal with it’ response. Ah well.” Leaning back in the chair, he asked, “So besides not liking your roomie, what have you been doing for fun around campus?” She blinked at the question before offering a tiny shrug, “Well, I’ve hit the library a couple of times. They have a really nice collection.”
  16. 16. “The library?” Mercutio’s eyes widened and then he shook his head, “Oh man, we can’t have that. That’s just too lame for even the saddest bookworm.” Ainsley blinked again, “Excuse me?” He gave another brilliant grin, “Hey Al, should I let this girl continue to think that the library is the most happenin’ spot on campus?” The cafeteria worker responded with a grunt as he continued on his way. “See? Even Al thinks you need to broaden your horizons a bit. There’s much more to enjoy about college than the library. Hell, the library should only be used as part of the painful studying parts.” Standing up, he grabbed Ainsley’s hand and pulled her up out of her chair, “Come on, let’s teach you how to have fun.”
  17. 17. They only got as far as the rec room in their dorm before he found the first thing he wanted to share, “See! Pimp Viking! This game is awesome and it’s at our disposal night and day.” Unable to help herself, Ainsley smiled with raised eyebrows, “Pimp Viking? That doesn’t even make any sense, does it?” Leaning in, she watched the game over Mercutio’s shoulder as he dropped in a quarter and started up the game. “That’s just the thing. I mean, look at the dude.” Mercutio gestured at the character running across the screen, “Viking hat, pimp clothes. What else could he be but a Pimp Viking? Who wouldn’t want an ensemble like that? Forget about ninjas and pirates, I’d be a Pimp Viking any day.”
  18. 18. Ainsley raised her eyebrows but smiled, “I’ll have to take your word for it. I imagine I’d look a little off in a Viking hat.” “Come on come on come on!” Mercutio was trying to listen, but the game was also trying to pound his chosen Pimp Viking into oblivion, “Oh man, you suck!” Losing his last life, he glanced up at Ainsley with a grin, “I’m dead. You want a turn?” Shaking her head, she said, “No. I’m not all that into video games.” Hastily she added, “And I have a class starting soon anyway.”
  19. 19. “Well, okay. I suppose I can let you go to class then.” Mercutio gave the game one last kick before turning to face Ainsley with a grin, “But mark my words, I’m going to make you have some real, non-book fun on this campus if it’s the last thing I do.” A smile tugged at the corner of her mouth, “You don’t have to do that, Mercutio.” “Merc. Call me Merc. Mercutio makes me think of my grandmother. And you definitely don’t make me think of my grandmother.”
  20. 20. Ainsley couldn’t help but laugh, “Well good. I’d hate for you to treat me like your grandmother. She sounds like a scary woman.” “Oh, she is. Like Godzilla. Gramzilla.” He made a ‘rawr’ gesture before bursting out laughing. “Tell you what, Ainsley, I’m going to drag you out when we get some time and we’ll find something you will enjoy, even if it’s going to be a job and a half.” “Alright, it’s a deal.” With one last smile and a wave, she headed off for class. ~*~*~*~*~*
  21. 21. Later that day, Ainsley sat in the library, working on an assignment from one of her classes. Even though Mercutio didn’t think much of the place, she really did enjoy the library. There was something to be said for the quiet joy a book could bring when you lose yourself in it or even when you learned something new and unexpected. On top of that, it was much easier to study in the library than in the chaos and noise of the dorm. “Mind if I join you?”
  22. 22. Ainsley looked up and smiled, “Hi Tybalt. Sure, have a seat.” Tybalt rarely smiled, but the corners of his mouth turned up slightly into a neutral expression as he pulled out the chair and slid into the seat, “Are you working on the assignment Professor Allen gave out today?” “Not yet, but that was the next one I was going to pull out.” Ainsley said reaching into her bookbag and pulling out another notebook, “I love his lectures, but he’s a bit of a bear about all the assignment work.”
  23. 23. “Tell me about it.” Tybalt pulled over his copy of the assignment as he groaned, “And there’s always one question in the damn thing that’s not covered by the lecture, but was in hours of the reading he also requires.” “That’s how he makes sure all his students are actually reading the material.” The red head grumbled, “I know, but it still seems like cheating. It’s not like we don’t have a crap load of stuff we need to do for all our classes. You’d think each professor thought their class was the only one we have to deal with.”
  24. 24. “That’s true. But I guess from their perspective it’s their job to make sure we learn everything they have to teach us in the scope of their class and the rest of it is up to us.” Ainsley shrugged and wrote the answer to the next question. “Eh, you sound like a professor.” She looked up and shrugged, “I always thought being a teacher would be kind of interesting. If something happened and I couldn’t dance, I’d probably look into that.” “So what’d you get for the second question?”
  25. 25. A short time later, the two of them had worked through the questions and packed away their materials. “Thanks for the help, Aine.” Tybalt gave an honest smile that looked unaccustomed on his features, “I would have been stuck for hours on question two.” “Well, four would have stumped me if you hadn’t been here.” She smiled in return. For a moment she paused and then asked hesitantly, “Do you want to meet here after next class? We could work on that assignment together too.” “That sounds like a fantastic idea.” His mouth quirked into a smirk, “You sure you want to major in the dance and theater arts program next year? I could use someone like you in the poli-sci program I’m joining.” Teasingly he added, “Never too early to start gathering minions.”
  26. 26. She burst out laughing, “Oh Ty. You’re looking at the wrong girl to be an political minion. I’d say the wrong thing to some touchy ambassador and end up starting an international incident.” He smirked, “Well, whatever. I’ll see you back at the dorm, study buddy.” ~*~*~*~*~*
  27. 27. A few nights later, Ainsley answered an insistent knock on the door. Opening it revealed a grinning Mercutio, “Oh hi, Merc. What’s up?” Gesturing excitedly he said, “Aine, a bunch of us are headed into town to go bowling and then maybe hit a bar or two, so I figured I’d check and see if you wanted to join. After all, I owe you another fun finding mission.” Glancing out into the lounge past him, she saw a few people standing near the stairs obviously waiting for him. One of them was Bottom.
  28. 28. Ainsley hid a grimace before she looked back to Mercutio and gave a reluctant shake of her head, “I really don’t think..” “Oh come on, Aine.” He pleaded with a smile, “Bo’s not bad once you get to know her. Give her a chance. Besides, I’ve got Uma going with us and you know it’s going to be hysterical explaining all the rules of bowling to her.” “That’s because you’re going to give them to her all wrong, aren’t you?” “Well duh.” Mercutio grinned hopefully, “So you’ll come?” Looking out into the lounge, she bit her lip. Shaking her head, she said, “No. Maybe next time.”
  29. 29. Mercutio sighed, “Well, I tried.” She smiled quietly, “You did.” “Okay then, have a good night being boring and lame in here studying.” He grinned to soften the words as he gave her a little wave. Taking no offense, she smiled and waved back, “You have a good time corrupting an innocent islander girl’s perception of mainland culture.” “Hah.” With that, Mercutio turned and sprinted to catch up to his group. Sighing, Aine gently shut the door and turned to her dresser.
  30. 30. Getting her pajamas on, Ainsley turned on some soft music and pulled out her text books. She really did have some studying she needed to do. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself. Until she saw Bottom standing with the crowd, she’d been seriously considering saying yes. Sighing, she looked down at the book without really seeing the words on the page, “Why does everything always need to be so complicated?”
  31. 31. *KNOCK*KNOCK*KNOCK* As if in answer to her question, there was a sudden pounding on her door. “Eee!” The sound startled her so badly, she dropped her book. Swallowing, she called out shakily, “Wh-who is it?” Whoever was outside banged on the door once more before there was a thud against the bottom of the door accompanied by a forlorn voice, “She lef’ me, Bo! She lef’ me.”
  32. 32. Eyes wide, Ainsley hesitantly opened the door to discover a young man with elf ears sitting slumped against the door frame. The smell of alcohol was strong and his red rimmed eyes were obvious signs of tears. Leaning forward to clutch his knees, he started rocking back and forth ever so slightly, “She lef’ me, Bo. Hermia .. Hermia dumped me.” Even though she’d been trying to avoid Bottom as much as possible, Ainsley recognized the young man from one of her roommate’s family photos. This was her brother, Puck.
  33. 33. At a loss for what to do, she looked down at him uncertainly. He kept repeating the same line over and over again with the faint hint of alcohol slurring his words. Finally she swallowed and said gently, “Bottom isn’t here. She went out for the night.” Puck stopped what he was saying and looked up at Ainsley, “I wanna wait for her. I need my sister. I need Bo. She.. she’s the only one that’ll unnerstan.” “I.. I don’t think that’s...”
  34. 34. Before Ainsley could protest further, Puck was rolling over onto his knees and trying to gain his feet. Not quite making it, he began crawling into the room. “You.. you can’t stay here.” She backed as he lurched into the room. Jaiden Turner appeared outside the doorway, “You better take him in, Aine. Someone’s going to call campus security if he stays out here and he’s too drunk to go home. Just put him in Bo’s bed until she gets back.” Ainsley looked from Puck’s pointed ears to Jaiden, “I.. I can’t.. I can’t do that.” Jaiden shook her head, “He’s a good guy, Aine. His girl broke up with him this afternoon in front of everyone at the union. It wasn’t pretty. He just needs a place to hole up for a while.” “I guess...” Before Ainsley could say anything further, Jaiden reached in and gently pulled the door shut.
  35. 35. As the door clicked shut, Ainsley looked helplessly down at Puck as he tried to get to his feet. “Y.you can sleep in Bottom’s bed. I’ll go downstairs and hang out in the lounge.” At least until her roommate returned and could extract him. He said something that was muffled and incoherent. “What?” Heaving a forlorn sigh that was aching with sadness, he said, “Don’ go. I don’ wanna be ‘lone.” Ainsley blinked and bit her lip, “You don’t even know me.”
  36. 36. Finally lurching unsteadily to his feet, he buried his face in his hands with an undignified snuffle. He didn’t quite wail, but the sadness was obvious in his voice and slurred words, “I don’ unnerstan. Why? Why’d she do it?” Nibbling at her lower lip again, Ainsley hesitated before saying again, “You can sleep on Bottom’s bed. It’s over there.” She pointed towards the other bed. She backed up another step. Unfortunately, she was already at the edge of the bed, so all she succeeded in doing was sitting down hard on the edge of the mattress.
  37. 37. Oblivious to Ainsley’s undignified fall, Puck turned and explained further, “I loved her. I really really really really loved her. Why would she do this to me? How could she fin’ someone else? What did I do wrong?” Sighing, Ainsley watched him and couldn’t help feel a twinge of sympathy even if his ears told her to run screaming in the other direction. Very softly she said, “Maybe it wasn’t anything you did. Maybe it was her.” “Bu.. bu.. she was perfect.” Puck gave a helpless shrug as he turned back towards Ainsley, “I loved her since we were little. I mean, she was the only girl .. only one. An.. an she lef’ me. For someone else. For some other guy. Why?”
  38. 38. Helplessly, Ainsley said in a tiny voice, “I don’t know.” With a thud that shook the frame, Puck sat down hard on the bed beside her. Leaning forward on his knees, he raised a hand to his forehead, “I loved her. I even bought a ring. I was gonna ask her to marry me. I thought we were gonna be together f’ever but she said she didn’ love me. Said she’d never loved me.” Once again, Ainsley worried at her lower lip, “Maybe you should get some rest. You can’t fix anything tonight and you look like you could really use some sleep.” Mumbling in a thick, snuffly voice, Puck nodded slowly and said, “Y’re right.”
  39. 39. With that, he laid down right where he was, “G’night” Ainsley froze as his head gently settled on her thigh. She could feel the soft red hair tickling the bare skin below the edge of her shorts while his hand settled under her knee as if her leg were a pillow. Trying not to move, she squeaked, “You should sleep in the other bed.” “Mmhmm.” Puck shifted and curled up a little more, pulling his legs up so they weren’t hanging off the edge of the bed. Again he muttered, “G’nigh lady.” After a moment, he added belatedly, “Thank you.”
  40. 40. “You really need to get in the other..” Ainsley hesitantly touched his shoulder as she pointed towards the other bed. As she touched him, she froze and pulled back her hand. He was already snoring.
  41. 41. Sighing, she very tentatively reached out and brushed his hair back from his eyes, barely touching the pointed ear. Puck simply snorted in response and snuggled a little closer. It was going to be a long night. ~*~*~*~*~*
  42. 42. “Hmmm. Let’s see. Do I want a mocha cappuccino with extra whip cream or an espresso con panna.” Bottom debated the menu as the barista tried to be patient, “I don’t suppose you can toss a shot of liquor in any of these, can you?” “Look miss, this is a campus coffee shop. We don’t do shots.” “Okay, then what would you have if you had to deal with a hung-over, heart-broken brother that spent all of last night traumatizing your racist roommate by cuddling up with her like she was a teddy bear?”
  43. 43. “I got it, Bo. I messed up. You can stop rubbing my nose in it.” Puck stood back from the counter, nursing a wicked headache as he waited for his sister to get her drink. Normally he didn’t mind her teasing, but the pounding in his head in his head was wearing his patience thin. Not to mention the embarrassment he felt over his behavior the night before. Bo just laughed and finished placing her order. The two sat down at a nearby table and she regarded him over her espresso, “So what exactly happened?”
  44. 44. Looking down at his hands, he sighed, “Which? The unconscious molesting of your skittish roommate or my heart getting broken?” “She’s not skittish, she’s a bitch. There’s a difference.” Bottom had finally given up trying to reach Ainsley and she was a little bitter about it. Puck glanced up and frowned, “I thought she was okay.” Absently he added, “And she smelled nice. Ultimately she didn’t kick me out.” “That’s because you wouldn’t leave. From what I got out of the five words she actually said to me today, you got into the room and wouldn’t’ leave. By the time you passed out, you had her trapped because you were using her as a pillow.” Puck groaned and looked embarrassed, “That’s worse than I thought. She hates me, doesn’t she?”
  45. 45. “She hates you because you’ve got pointed ears, bro.” Bottom explained, “She was fine with me until she got a look at the ears and it was like the iron curtain coming down. I don’t get it, but she’s totally unwilling to deal with elves of any sort.” She shrugged and took a sip of her drink, “So tell me about Hermia.” A look of pain crossed Puck’s face as he turned to look out the window, “She broke up with me.” “Why?” “She said she found someone else. Said she didn’t love me. Said she’d never loved me the way I loved her and I needed to move on.” Puck sighed and put his elbow on the table and used his hand to prop up his chin, “I don’t get it, Bo. I thought things were going so well. I’d even gotten the ring. It was supposed to be like the storybooks.”
  46. 46. “You’re too much of a romantic, bro.” Bottom gave him a sympathetic look, “You’ve got a soft heart. Most high school sweethearts never last. Hermia got a taste of freedom and decided to make a run for it. Maybe you should think about doing the same thing.” She snorted softly and added, “It’s not like there’s ever been a shortage of girls willing to give you an all day pass into their pants. Not that you ever noticed.” “She’s the only one I’ve ever wanted, Bo. I’m lost without her.” Setting his jaw with a determined look, Puck thought for a moment and then declared, “I’m going to win her back.” Bottom arched an eyebrow, “Oh bro, this sounds like a horrible idea.”
  47. 47. “Maybe, but I’m not giving up without a fight.” Decision made, Puck nodded resolutely, “I’ll apologize to your roommate, then I’m going to start working on winning Hermia back.” “Good luck.” Bottom took another sip of her espresso, “But this time, call my cell if you need me to pick up the shattered pieces of your broken heart.” ~*~*~*~*~*
  48. 48. Across campus, Ainsley and Mercutio walked up to the campus swim center, enjoying the warmth of the day. “Having fun yet?” She raised an eyebrow and looked back at him, “We just got here.” “Pessimist” He grinned and looked back to her, “So what happened last night? I heard you had an interesting night despite turning down the awesome invitation of bowling and booze.” Ainsley groaned, “Is there anyone on campus who hasn’t heard yet?” “If I’d heard, I wouldn’t be asking.”
  49. 49. “Bottom’s brother showed up drunk. His girlfriend had broken up with him and he needed to cry on someone’s shoulder. Bottom wasn’t there, but he needed to sleep, so I let him in the room and he slept.” Her fingers fidgeted nervously as she thought back to the night before. Mercutio gave her a look, “There’s got to be more to it than that. Otherwise you wouldn’t look so guilty. Puck’s a good guy, so I doubt he did anything obnoxious, even with being stinking drunk.” She frowned, “There’s nothing else. Honest.” Looking up at the building and the large outdoor pool, she asked, “So why are we here? I didn’t bring a bathing suit.” Immediately distracted, Mercutio grinned and grabbed her hand, “Come on, I’ll show you!”
  50. 50. “Roller skating!” Ainsley couldn’t help but smile at his enthusiastic declaration, “Roller skating?” She eyed the rink speculatively, “I don’t know about this...” “Oh come on, Aine. It’s just like dancing except on wheels, right? I figure this has to be a winner in the fun quest. If you enjoy anything, it’s gotta be this. Besides, any six-year-old can do it, so how hard can it be?” Mercutio grinned, “I guarantee you’ll love it! I you used to be awesome at this.”
  51. 51. *THUD* Mercutio groaned as his feet went out from under him again while Ainsley breezed around the rink past him, “Are you sure you were awesome at this, Merc?” “Ha ha, very funny.” He grumbled as he regained his feet once more, “I was about two feet shorter the last time I did this, so it’s all a matter of relearning where my center of gravity is, right?”
  52. 52. “Sure it is.” Ainsley grinned and whipped around the curve to put herself into a pirouetting spin. While Mercutio may have been exaggerating his own skill with roller skating, he was right that it was something she would enjoy. She took to it easily and was quickly putting some of her dance moves to use. “Show off.” He smirked as he came a little more cautiously around the rink behind her. Careful not to fall, he moved over so he could pass her.
  53. 53. She gave a joyous laugh as she came out of the spin, “This is wonderful! I think you can finally say you’ve succeeded in finding something I think is fun, right?” “I win at life.” Mercutio grinned and looked past her as he came around the bend, “Oh hey, Puck. How you doing, man?” He raised a hand to wave, but nearly lost his balance again. Ainsley’s eyes widened and she spun around quickly to see who Mercutio was addressing.
  54. 54. Of course, even with her impeccable sense of balance, that turn was a little too much for even her. Wheels went out from under her and she ended up on the polished wood in an undignified sprawl, “Oof!” Coming up behind them, Puck called out, “Ooh, be careful. The floor isn’t very forgiving on this rink.” He offered a wave and a nod to Mercutio as he easily skated around Ainsley and offered her a hand up. She raised a hand to wave him off, but he took that as an invitation to help her up. Ainsley stammered, “I’m.. uhm.. Thank you.”
  55. 55. Still holding onto her hands as she regained her feet, he spoke sheepishly, “I wanted to apologize for last night and thank you for putting up with me.” Mercutio smirked as he did another lap around the pair, “Oooh, I knew there was more to the story.” Ainsley’s green cheeks colored with a hint of warmth as she shot Mercutio a glare, “It was nothing. You don’t have to thank me.”
  56. 56. Puck shook his head, “Yes I do. I was a mess last night and if campus security had found me, I probably would have spent the night in their office or worse, been handed over to the town cops for being drunk and pathetic.” That earned the faintest hint of a smile as she looked up at him through lowered eyelashes. The smile disappeared the moment she caught sight of his ears again, “It’s okay. Really.” Reassuring himself that she was steady on her feet, Puck finally let go of her hands. Offering an honest smile, he said, “Well. Still. I wanted you to know I really appreciated the help and I’m sorry I used your bed. I do have to say you were a gracious and comfortable pillow.” With one last smile, he turned and skated off.”
  57. 57. Ainsley stood there and watched him skate off with a confused expression on her face. “Ah-ha, gracious and comfortable pillow indeed! Spill the beans, Aine. Did you and Puck get all snuggly wuggly together?” As he came up beside her, his feet flew out from underneath him. “OOF .” “Shut up, Merc.” She sighed and offered a hand up. ~*~*~*~*~*
  58. 58. A few days later, Ainsley was enjoying the best part of her week. While she liked most of her refresher courses, the true joy of her education experience so far was the one dance class they’d allowed her to take as a freshman. It was a very basic ballet course, but it had all the essential requirements - music and movement.
  59. 59. The joy and thrill of turning motion into poetry was something she’d enjoyed since she was very little back in Strangetown in the big house she shared with all her siblings and cousins. The moment she heard music, there was a part of her that wanted to begin moving. The style didn’t matter in the least, though she seemed to prefer the elegant classicism of ballet. Even something as simple as going through the basic exercises as Jaiden played the piano made her smile blissfully.
  60. 60. The rest of the class was not necessarily quite so serene, though. Across from Ainsley on the other barre was Hermia Capp. Looking up, she grimaced, “Oh crap. Not now.” Behind her, a perky brunette blinked and asked, “What’s wrong, Mia?”
  61. 61. “It’s my ex.” Hermia tilted her chin towards where Puck was leaning against the wall near the door watching her and the other dancers. In a mutter, she grumbled, “I really don’t want to deal with this right now.” Gritting her teeth, she tried to continue the exercise, but every time she looked up, Puck was there staring in her direction with that same fond little smile he always wore when he watched her. It drove her nuts. Not able to take it anymore, she finally asked loudly, “Puck, what the hell are you doing here?”
  62. 62. Inwardly, he winced at her tone, but the only sign was a slight faltering in the little smile he wore, “I’m watching you dance. You know how much I love watching you move.” Giving up any pretense of dancing, she let go of the barre and walked towards him, “I told you I don’t want to see you anymore, Puck. Can’t you please just let me go?” With forced cheerfulness, he explained, “Professor Darnelle said that I could do some live figure drawing in here. I’ve got permission to be here, Hermia.” He took a step towards her and asked softly, “You haven’t been returning my calls. I just want to talk.”
  63. 63. Frustrated, she clenched her hands into fists, “Puck, I haven’t answered your calls because I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t know how to make this any more plain. I didn’t want to hurt you, but I’ve outgrown you. Face it, we grew up and we grew apart. It happens. Let me go and get on with your life.” At this point most of the class was watching even though they pretended not to. Puck’s expression grew hurt and angry, “Hermia, I can’t believe you just want to throw everything we had away. I want to fight for us, why won’t you?” “Puck, there is NO us anymore.”
  64. 64. “Mia, is there a problem? Should I call campus security?” The brunette came over, sparing Puck a curious glance as she held out a hand towards Hermia. Giving Puck one last glare, Hermia turned and took the offered hand with a warm smile spreading over her features, “It’s okay, Mona. Puck was just leaving.” “I’m not leaving until you agree to talk..” Puck stopped as he realized that Mona was holding Hermia’s hand and pulling the red headed woman closer to her.
  65. 65. Right there in front of him, Mona pulled Hermia into a possessive, brazen kiss. It made everything very painfully clear. Hermia had definitely left him for someone else, but it wasn’t another man like he had thought. As the kiss continued rather obnoxiously, his shoulders slumped in defeat.
  66. 66. Giving up any pretense of dancing, Ainsley watched with horrified fascination. It was like a painful train wreck. Under her breath she murmured, “Why is she doing this to him?” The guy dancing behind her gave a little shake of his head, “Don’t get involved, Aine. It’s not worth it. Just because they want to air their dirty laundry in front of everyone doesn’t mean we all have to sniff it. Just ignore them.”
  67. 67. It was good advice, but Ainsley couldn’t help but feel her stomach clench as she watched Puck dejectedly turn and walk out of the room. Hermia and Mona finally broke off the kiss and giggled as they saw their over-the-top public display of affection had finally driven Puck away. Still holding hands, the two young women returned to the barre. Ainsley sighed and said, “I’m feeling a little nauseous. I’m going to call it a day.” Walking over to the door, she picked up her bag and headed towards the locker room. Why was this bothering her so much?
  68. 68. Outside, Puck sat forlornly on the steps of the arts building. He’d made it as far as the steps and then stopped. His sketchbook sat on the ground in front of him, open to a drawing he’d done of Hermia during her happier times. While he wasn’t crying, there was an obvious aura of sadness radiating off of him.
  69. 69. Coming out of the building, Ainsley hurried past Puck, pretending to not see him there as she went on her way. She made it about five feet from the building before she stopped. Raising a hand to nervously rub the back of her neck, she hesitated as she considered her options. Finally she whispered plaintively to no one, “What am I doing?” Turning around, she walked over to Puck. “Are you going to be okay?”
  70. 70. “If I say no, are you going to be able to wave a magic wand and make it all better?” Puck sounded tired, weakening the bite of his sarcasm. “Not really.” Ainsley fidgeted for a moment before she said softly, “I just hate seeing anyone hurt. What she did in there was cruel. I.. I’m sorry.” Puck sighed, “I wouldn’t listen. No wonder I drove her into someone else’s arms. God, what kind of guy am I that she dumped for a girl?” He gave a self-derisive laugh, “That’s some kind of talent, turning girls into lesbians. I wonder if I can market that.” Ainsley frowned faintly, “It wasn’t anything you made her do. It was her choice and she didn’t have to be so cruel about it.”
  71. 71. Puck stood up and sighed, “No, maybe she didn’t, but it got the point across pretty clear, didn’t it?” Stepping back nervously as he stood, she nodded, “Well, I just wanted to make sure you were okay.” “Thanks.” Reaching a hand up to rub the bridge of his nose, he said, “Hey, do you want to go get coffee or something? I feel I owe you that at least for as much as you’ve had to deal with my drama.” Giving a quick shake of her head, she turned, “No thank you. I.. I’m going to go now.”
  72. 72. Puck’s brow furrowed into a curious frown as she headed down the walk towards the dorms. Expression thoughtful, he was distracted momentarily from his own problems as he murmured, “How can someone be so compassionate and so frightened all at the same time?” He watched her for a moment longer before a spark seemed to light up his eyes. Turning back towards the art building, he sprinted up the stairs and headed inside.
  73. 73. Once in the deserted painting studio, he quickly set up a pre-stretched canvas and began to paint with a flurry of brush strokes. Bringing his mind away from his grief over his failed relationship with Hermia, his focus moved the paint brush expertly over the canvas, bringing to life the picture his mind was driving him to paint.
  74. 74. His problems might not have gone away, but at the very least his muse had been inspired. ~*~*~*~*~*
  75. 75. The weeks flew by until Fall semester blurred into Spring. Ainsley settled easily into the rhythm of school, attending class, doing course work, working on research papers. Some of it was challenging work, especially since her high school education had been incomplete, but she took a great deal of pride and satisfaction in getting good grades despite any obstacles.
  76. 76. That is not to say everything was all work and no play. Over time, she found herself counting both Mercutio and Tybalt as friends. Both of them had their own way of bringing her out of her shell and making her laugh and enjoy life. It was an odd situation since they completely refused to deal with one another on any sort of civil level, but both of them had taken her under their wing in their own ways. Between the two of them, she was experiencing everything campus life had to offer.
  77. 77. The one drawback to the whole thing was her roommate. Bottom had mostly given up trying to be civil, so there was a constant chill between the two when they had to be in the same room. Without words, the two had settled into an arrangement where, unless they were sleeping, only one would stay in the room at a time. It was unpleasant but bearable.
  78. 78. One interesting development was the fact that Puck had returned to the dance class regardless of how Hermia and Mona had treated him. Each day of the class, he would arrive a few minutes after everyone began warming up and settle down onto the ground with his sketch pad, or occasionally with a full easel. After the first few times, he had stoped giving Hermia an imploring look. For her part, she and Mona continued to flirt and otherwise be very public about their affection for one another. ~*~*~*~*~*
  79. 79. One late night midway through the second semester, Ainsley found herself alone in the studio. She was hoping to audition for a performance coming up at the end of the school year, so she was squeezing as much time as she could for practice. As usual, the music had taken hold of her and she simply continued to dance long after everyone else had left. When the long playing tape in the stereo finally came to a stop, she realized what time it was and that she was alone in an empty studio.
  80. 80. Well, the nearly alone. Over by the door, she saw that Puck still sitting there, his pencil scratching methodically over the page of his sketchbook. He had become a regular feature in the classroom, so it didn’t really surprise her to see him there. Ainsley hesitated and bit her lower lip in a timid gesture. Despite the fact that the music had stopped, he seemed unaware that anything had changed.
  81. 81. While she had been lost in the music, he was lost in his drawing. Oblivious to anything else, his pencil continued over the page, slowly coaxing forth the image he knew existed just beneath the surface of the paper. Occasionally he would grab one of his colored pencils and add just the hint of warmth or cold to the image. A tentative voice interrupted his reverie, “Puck?”
  82. 82. He jerked in surprise and looked up, quickly closing the sketchbook and covering up what he had been drawing, “Oh man, what time is it?” He blinked a few times and looked around for a clock, “Are we all that’s left?” Ainsley nodded, “I think everyone else left hours ago. It’s past midnight.” She paused then said hesitantly, “You should head out. I need to lock up the studio and get changed.”
  83. 83. Wincing as he rose, Puck mumbled, “Remind me not to stay sitting in one position like that for so long. My back is going to yell at me all night for that.” Looking to her, he smiled, “I can wait for you to lock up.” She blinked uncertainly and shook her head, “You don’t have to do that. I.. I don’t want to keep you.” Puck gave a shrug, “Nah, I can wait. It’s late. I’ll wait for you to finish up then walk you back to your dorm.” “You really don’t have to do that.” He gave a wry smile, “Indulge me? Please? It’s been a while since I got to play the white knight. Just let me walk you back to the dorm and pretend I’m being useful, okay?”
  84. 84. Ainsley turned away as an unwanted smile curved up the corners of her mouth. Even if she didn’t want to like him, there was a certain something about him that she couldn’t help but find charming, “Well, if you really want to.” He quirked a grin as he watched her walk away, “I do. I really want to.” ~*~*~*~*~*
  85. 85. A short time later, the studio had been cleaned and locked up. The arts building was vacant and it was obvious they were the last ones to leave since the campus was quiet. Puck walked beside Ainsley, but kept a careful distance between since she still seemed so skittish, “It always amazes me how quiet the campus is on a weeknight. It’s like a whole different world on the weekend.” Ducking her head, she thought about staying silent, but finally responded, “I like it. It’s peaceful.”
  86. 86. “Oh, I like it too.” Puck smiled as he looked out across the quad, “The parties are fun, but there’s something to be said for quiet time. Sometimes I like being able to hear myself think as I watch the stars.” Glancing up at the sky, she smiled, “The stars are bright tonight.” Puck glanced over towards the nearby lamppost and realized it was out at about the same moment his sneaker crunched broken glass beneath it. Instantly his eyes narrowed with wariness.
  87. 87. He could feel the hair on the back of his neck standing up. There was something out there.
  88. 88. Reaching out and lightly touching her shoulder, he said, “Hold up, Ainsley.” Startled at the touch, she quickly pulled away from his grasp, “Wh..what?” She backed up a few steps from him uncertainly “There’s someone out there.” Careful not to touch her and scare her more, he stepped forward to put himself between her and the shadows. Frowning, he called out, “Who’s out there?”
  89. 89. Kal smirked, “The whelp knew we were here, Kern. They did said he would be trained.” The woman snarled as she narrowed her eyes, “So they did. Not that it’ll help him at all.” Unmindful of the flowers beneath her feet, Kern pushed through the bushes and stepped out onto the path. He gave a soft snort and followed her.
  90. 90. “You can stop right there.” She held up both hands to clearly brandish the gun in her hand so both Puck and Ainsley could see it. The light glinted strangely off the barrel, hinting at arcane engravings throughout the cold metal, “It’s time to put this to an end, whelp.” Kal ‘s eyes widened with a feral grin as he looked past Puck to Ainsley, “Ooh, he’s got a friend, Kern. Can I have her? I’ve been a good boy all year. Consider it an early pressie for the holidays?” The cruel looking woman spared a glance for Ainsley before she made a dismissive sound, “Whatever.”
  91. 91. “You people just never give up, do you?” Puck crossed his arms over his chest as he stood his ground and glared back at them. He seemed unfased by their presence or even the gun, “Why can’t you just leave well enough alone and get on with your lives? You don’t see us sending people to harrass you, do you?” Ainsley on the other hand was about to go into full panic mode. Elves. They were elves. Elves that had murder and more in their eyes and they were looking straight at her.
  92. 92. Kern snarled, “Don’t you get it, whelp? You and all of your kind are an offense to the purity of our bloodline. You’re a stain that needs to be cleansed so we can be whole again. You’re the result of weak willed idiot that couldn’t keep her legs closed and the only reason you’re still alive is some soft-hearted, misguided fool thinks you’re worth spending time on. I’m here to fix those mistakes.” “You’re here because the protections faded and haven’t been renewed. Once my mother..” He didn’t get anything further out before she raised the gun and pointed at him, “Enough talking.” She pulled the trigger and the gunshot echoed across the quad.
  93. 93. Puck was moving the moment she leveled the gun. Diving to one side, he simultaneously pushed Ainsley out of the way of the bullet while also dodging it himself. Kern swore, but before she could fire the gun again, Puck had charged in to tackle her.
  94. 94. Ainsley cried out as she fell to the side from Puck’s shove. Everything was happening too fast and nothing made any sense. If her brain had time to process what she was seeing, she might wonder why these elves were attacking Puck who was obviously one of their own. That thought remained elusive, leaving her to only think that they had found her and come to finish the job they’d started in Strangetown several years ago.
  95. 95. Puck’s tackle knocked Kern to the ground and sent the gun flying out of her hand. She was quick though and quickly rolled with the hit to avoid the punch he followed up with. Using his momentum against him, she grabbed his wrist and used her feet to flip him up over the top of her.
  96. 96. Ignoring his companion as she fought Puck, Kal moved greedily towards Ainsley. Assassination was all well and good, but there were far more interesting and fun things he could do to a target or a bystander before he finished them off, “Hello pretty-pretty. Be a good girl for Uncle Kal.” He reached out to grab her shoulder as she struggled to her feet. Ainsley screamed as his calloused fingers cruelly bit down into the bare skin of shoulder, “Let go of me!”
  97. 97. Instinctively, she spun out of his grasp. It was a move that she had been practicing for the upcoming auditions, but one suited perfectly to the situation. Without even consciously deciding anything, she completed the spin with a high kick that connected squarely with his jaw. Ainsley might be a slight girl, but she was still a trained dancer with all the hidden strength and power that goes along with it. “OOF!” Kal flew backwards and landed in an undignified heap on the sidewalk.
  98. 98. Backing up, Ainsley raised her hands into a fighting stance as she backed up, “I s.said l.leave me alone.” Feeling the ache of a nearly dislocated jaw, Kal snarled as he started to pick himself up, “You’re going to regret that, pretty-pretty. We could have had some fun, but now I’m going to just enjoy making you hurt.”
  99. 99. Kern had flipped Puck over onto his back and followed him over with a flip of her own so she landed on the other side of him in a feral crouch, “This could have been painless, whelp. Now you’re just delaying the inevitable.” Puck had landed with the wind knocked out of him, but he quickly recovered, “I’m not an easy prey, huntress. You should know that by now. My mother made sure we knew what you people were capable of.” The dangerous looking woman snarled, “She is NOT your mother, whelp, and you have no idea what we’re capable of. But go ahead, underestimate us.” Kern lunged forward just as the last word was out of her mouth.
  100. 100. “I don’t think I’m the one underestimating people tonight, bitch.” Puck waited until she was just at the right angle and used the leverage of his prone position to place a powerful kick square against her chest, sending her flying backwards.
  101. 101. She flew through the bushes and landed hard against the side of the building, hitting her head with a resounding crack, “UGH!”
  102. 102. Puck leapt to his feet and stood ready. A quick glance reassured him that the gun was far out of her reach. Realizing she wasn’t getting up quite as quickly as she had before, he growled, “Get the hell out of here. Drag your sorry asses back to the North Forest and tell your damned elders to leave the children of Titania Summerdream alone. You only get one warning, huntress.”
  103. 103. Kal reeled as he took another kick from Ainsley. Snarling, he staggered to his feet, “This is beginning to piss me off, Kern.” Groaning, she got to her feet and backed away from Puck, “Leave her be,. We’re done here now.” “But I..” He scrambled to his feet and looked towards her. Seeing the look on her face, he stopped and swore, “Damn it.” Puck backed off to keep both of them in sight as they regrouped, “Go on, get out of here.”
  104. 104. “You haven’t’ seen the last of us, whelp. You and your little family are an abomination that the elders will not allow to continue. Summerdream won’t be able to protect you forever. Her days are numbered too. When she’s gone, no matter how good you are at fighting, we will take you down.” “I’ll believe it when I see it. Until then, you’re just hot air.” Puck snarled. “Look over your shoulder, whelp. I’ll be there someday just as you realize that you’re already dead.” With that, she and her partner ran off through the trees, quickly disappearing.
  105. 105. Puck watched them go. Only when they were out of sight did he let out a breath he hadn’t even realized he was holding. His heart thudded in his chest and he could already feel the bruises forming where she’d hit him and where he’d landed hard on the ground. There was also a bleeding scratch on his arm that might have been a graze from the bullet, but he didn’t want to think too closely about that. As his adrenaline slowly faded, he realized he could hear crying behind him. It took a heartbeat before he realized the source, “Aine!”
  106. 106. Rushing over to her, he asked, “Are you okay? I’m so sorry you had to be here for that. Please tell me you’re okay.” Reaching her side, he gently took her arms to pull her hands away from her face. Looking her up and down, he checked her over for any obvious wounds. There was nothing, but she was still shaking and there was a wild look of fear in her obsidian eyes. “Th.th.they were.. North F.forest..” Her teeth were chattering as she felt the panic take hold of her now that the immediate danger was gone. “Yes, they were. I know Bo gets mad, but if you’d run into them before, I completely understand why you hate elves.” He reached out and gently put a finger beneath her chin to make her look up at him, “You are okay, though. I promise I won’t let them hurt you.” They stood there for a moment staring at one another, their breath catching as their eyes met.
  107. 107. Not even realizing what he was doing, Puck let his hand drift from her chin, up across her cheek in a gentle caress as he repeated himself with a soft whisper, “I mean it. I promise I won’t ever let them hurt you.” “Puck..” Ainsley was confused. Why would he protect her. Wasn’t he an elf too? Everything was happening so fast and she couldn’t make sense of any of it. Puck’s caress trailed up her cheek and into her hair, brushing it back from her face.
  108. 108. Abruptly he stopped, his eyes widening. His hand had shifted her hair away from her ear, revealing the delicate point. Suddenly he could see it. The tilt of her nose, the arch of her cheekbones, the unthinking grace that colored her every movement. It was all there for him to see if only he had been looking, “You.. you’re part elf.” The mystery surrounding her suddenly made sense.
  109. 109. Ainsley made a panicked little sound in the back of her throat before she wrenched herself away from him. Without a backward glance, she bolted down the sidewalk, running headlong towards her dorm. Puck could only stare in shock for a moment before he found his voice, “Ainsley, wait! Wait, I’m not.. I want... Come back!”
  110. 110. She was out of earshot. Helplessly he watched her disappear into the trees near the dorms, “Ainsley...” ~*~*~*~*~*
  111. 111. “Merc, I’m pretty sure that is definitely NOT the intended use of a photo booth.” Bottom grinned impishly at Mercutio as the two stood in the hallway of their dorm. He waggled his eyebrows at her as he flirted, “Maybe it’s not the intended use, but I can assure you it is the BEST use.” Stepping closer as he grinned suggestively, “Aren’t we supposed to find multiple uses for things for the benefit of the planet? Reduce, reuse, recycle?” She laughed but didn’t back up, “You are such a perv.”
  112. 112. “Bo! Merc!” Puck came rushing in through the door past a dormie that was just leaving. “Son of a...” Mercutio backed up a step and gave a smile as he quickly said, “Oh hey Puck. How’s it hanging? Everything okay. We’re just hanging out. I am most certainly not trying to seduce your little sister no matter what it looks like.” As Bottom rolled her eyes, Puck blinked once at Mercutio, “What?” “Uhm. Nothing.” Mercutio gave a bright grin, “What’s up? You’re a mess.”
  113. 113. “I ran into some hunters, Bo. Mom’s wards are overdue to be renewed, but I thought we could wait until the end of the semester.” Puck shook his head, “They’re gone for now, but I’ll call her first thing in the morning.” Bottom swore, “Bastards.” Tilting her head, she got a good look at him, finally seeing the scrapes and bruises that were evidence of his fight. Instantly she was concerned, “Are you okay?” Gesturing impatiently, he said, “I’m fine. But Ainsley was with me. Did you see her come through here?”
  114. 114. “Oh for the love of..” Bottom rolled her eyes, “Why do you care about her, Puck? No matter how pretty she is, she’s a bitch. You’d be better off pining after Hermia. Maybe she’ll take pity on you and give you a threesome with her and Mona.” Mercutio perked up with interest at that, “Threesome? Where? I’m game.” They both ignored him. “Bo, it’s not like that, there’s something..” “Who cares, Puck? Maybe we’ll get lucky and she’ll drop out of school at the end of this semester.”
  115. 115. Reaching his limit, Puck closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, “She’s an elf, Bo.” “She’s a bitch is..” What he said finally filtered through and her eyes widened, “WHAT!? But she’s an.. she’s an alien, isn’t she?” “Obviously, but regardless of anythign else, she’s also got a strong elven bloodline in there. Think about it, Bo. Look at her cheeks, her grace, everything about her screamed elf. She wears her hair deliberately to hide her ears because she’d run into North Forest elves before.” Bo’s mind was spinning, “But that means..” She closed her eyes and grimaced, “Oh god. Mom told me to watch out for her and I didn’t listen. I didn’t try.” “Where is she?”
  116. 116. Moments later, Bottom entered her dorm room with Puck close behind her. There they found Ainsley curled into a fetal position on her bed clutching a weathered picture of her family. There was a duffel bag off to the side half filled with her belongings.
  117. 117. “I’m so tired of running.” Ainsley didn’t turn around to look at them and her voice barely rose above a weary whisper, “I started packing, thinking I would just start running tonight and just not look back. Again. And again and again and again.” Her voice cracked, “I just want it to stop.” She closed her eyes tight and curled in on herself a little more, “My whole family has been running for generations. I can’t do it anymore. I. I’m too weak. I’m not as strong as they all were. Are.” Clutching the picture to her chest, she said, “I should have left when I first saw you, Bottom, but I wanted this so bad. I wanted normal. I wanted .. I wanted a life.”
  118. 118. Puck and Bottom exchanged a look. He reached out and gently closed the door behind them. “I’m sorry, Ainsley.” Bottom’s guilt was written on her face as she approached the bed, “My mother taught me better than this. I should have seen it, but I think my pride blinded me. Puck has always been better at this stuff than I am. He saw it in you even if he didn’t realize what it was he was seeing.” In a small voice, Ainsley asked, misunderstanding, “What are you doing to do with me?”
  119. 119. Bottom sat down on the edge of the bed and sighed, “What am I going to do with you? First I’m going to apologize. Then I’m going to talk.” Even though they couldn’t see it, an uncertain look crossed Ainsley’s face as she turned slightly towards Bottom’s voice. “I feel so stupid.” Bottom gave a rueful smile before she said definitively, “We are not and never have been aligned with the elves of the North Forest. If I hadn’t been such a butt head, I’d have realized I should have told you that the minute you shut me out.” At this, Ainsley rolled over and blinked at her roommate, “Y.you’re not?” “No, no we’re not. In fact,” She looked up at Puck with a fond smile, “We’re half-breeds too. Like you, I’m guessing.”
  120. 120. Slowly, Ainsley sat up, her expression growing curious even as she tried not to begin to hope again. Bottom took a deep breath, “Let me tell you the story of Titania Summerdream, the best mom any abandoned half-breed could ever hope to find.” ~*~*~*~*~*
  121. 121. Elsewhere in the arbor shrouded halls of the North Forest...
  122. 122. “What did you expect?” Kern said with an angry shrug. “I expected you to do your job.” The cold, cultured voice replied with barely a hint of his obvious irritation coloring the words. “You never told me how well trained the whelp would be. We tried to take him on his home turf and he got the better of me.” She spared a glance over her shoulder at her partner, “If someone hadn’t of been so distracted, we might have taken him down and then been able to deal with his ‘sister’.” Kal glared at the back of Kern’s head as she turned back to their employer, “It’s not my fault the alien bitch could kick like a racehorse. Little bitch moved like one of us and I wasn’t expecting that.”
  123. 123. “Just a moment.” Their employer was suddenly intently interested in what they were saying, “The girl was an alien, but she moved like one of us? Intriguing. Tell me about her. Now.” Kern sighed. When he made a polite sounding request like that, she knew better than to argue. ~*~*~*~*~*
  124. 124. And here ends Part Two of Generation Five of the Round Robin Legacy! I hope to have the third part out soon, which should wrap up Ainsley’s college experience and start moving her towards the path of her adult life. I hope everyone has enjoyed the journey so far and is here for the rest of it. Until next time, happy simming!

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