Bechloe Week 2021 - Day Five
(Dedicated to @chloebeale and a situation of hers of which this one shot is very loosely based on)
“You don’t know who I am, do you?”
Beca Mitchell slings her arm gently around her teenage daughter’s shoulder, guiding her slowly down the street in Atlanta. Her eyes remain peeled on the sign of a tattoo and piercing parlour a little way ahead of them. One that they’re approaching.
She and her wife used to go here all the time when they were in college, Chloe becoming more daring with her piercings the further into her friendship she went with the brunette. Back then Beca’d had no idea that one day she would end up falling in love with her best friend. That she’d end up graduating college and moving into a two bed apartment with her near Atlanta, not too far from the college campus where they’d first met, and eventually crushing under the weight of her unrequited love for the woman only to find out that Chloe felt the same way. A ‘textbook friends-to-lovers trope’ (or so Stacie had declared in a speech at their wedding).
Eighteen years on and Beca arrives at the door to the tattoo and piercing parlour with her sixteen year old daughter. Sophia is psyched, Beca can tell. And to be fair, Beca’s pretty excited too. She remembers when she got her first piercing at sixteen. How she’d begged and begged her father to allow her one, yet her mother had been the one to eventually take her.
For Sophia Mitchell however, things are different. She hasn’t had to beg her Mom or her Ma. Both have been supportive, as always. And Beca has always been the one desperate to take the teen. (“It’s a right of passage.” Beca had declared and Chloe Mitchell had nodded in agreement).
“Ready kiddo?” Beca asks, bringing a hand up to push back a lock of her daughter’s red hair. Sophia ducks away from her Mama’s act of affection, still a teenager through and through. And she rolls her eyes slightly, a habit she’s picked up from Beca.
“Ma, please, you’re embarrassing me.” Sophia grumbles, and Beca simply chuckles. She doesn’t say it out loud, but she loves embarrassing her daughter.
“Alright alright, come on then.” the woman concedes, and takes a step forward to enter the parlour.
The interior hasn’t changed much since she was last here eighteen years ago. When she and Chloe had got matching tattoos on their hips as an engagement gift to each other. The place is still surprisingly well lit yet stuffy. The walls are still plastered with photos and pictures and Polaroids featuring models and real people posing with their new piercings and tattoos in a variety of different places on their body. The music still has an element of heavy rock to it. None of it threatens Beca though, and they don’t seem to bother Sophia either.
“Oh my God it’s you.” a member of the parlour team declares with a grin on her face, and Beca hesitates for a moment. An older slim woman approaches her, with long grey hair and piercings up her ears. The smile on her face isn’t a warm smile though. It’s a…giddy smile. Perhaps even one of amusement?
“Umm…hi?” Beca replies with caution, her brow furrowing, “We’re um…well my daughter wants to have her tragus pierced. Please.”
The woman stops by a small desk, smirking, still clearly amused. And she continues to look directly at Beca making the mother feel a bit uncomfortable. Why does she feel like the butt of some joke? How can she be the butt of some joke? She hasn’t been here in almost two decades!
“You sure you wanna be here for that?” the old woman asks, her smile now broad and teasing, revealing a missing tooth towards the back on the upper left, and a gold-plated tooth towards the back on the upper right.
“Umm yeah?” Beca replies, shuffling slightly on the spot, her eyes darting around the room before returning to the old woman, “Why wouldn’t I?”
“You don’t know who I am, do you?”
Beca’s a little caught off guard. She’s lived in Atlanta for over two decades. She could’ve met this woman absolutely anywhere. And clearly her hesitation is long enough because the woman chuckles, then looks to Sophia.
“Your Mom threw up on my new boots-”
Suddenly Beca remembers exactly how she knows this woman and, more specifically, how this woman knows her.
“Excuse me??” Beca blurts, bursting through the doors of the tattoo and piercing parlour. She drags Chloe by the hand behind her, her eyes looking fervently round the place to find a member of the parlour’s team. “Help! We need help!”
She’s breathless, panicking. She has twelve piercings, yet she’s never seen this before. A woman with long brown hair and piercings up both her ears dashes towards them, looking concerned.
“God what’s happened?? Are you okay?”
“I’m fine but…” Beca pauses to drag Chloe forward, “…my friend’s ear…” she’s panicking so much that she struggles to steady her breathing, so is unable to finish her sentence. Chloe, fortunately, is far less panicky. In fact, she’s relatively calm. Which perhaps makes Beca feel even more anxious.
“Hmm.” the woman says, looking closely at Chloe’s left ear, “Yeah looks like the stud in the helix piercing has disappeared.”
“Ha-huh, disappeared.” Beca huffs, looking at the woman in disbelief. Disappeared is an understatement. Chloe looks like she’s grown another ear it’s become so swollen.
“Can you get it out?” Chloe asks in such a casual manner, as though she was asking for the time. Beca begins to pace slightly, ringing her hands she’s so nervous. What if Chloe has to have her ear amputated or something?? What if…what if she can’t hear music any more or loses her appetite or becomes unable to frikkin walk or-
“Yeah no problem.” the woman replies, nodding confidently, then motioning to a nearby leather armchair, “We do this all the time.”
All the time?? Beca swallows loudly. This is her and Chloe’s go-to piercing and tattoo parlour. If piercings from this place get infected ‘all the time’ is it really somewhere they should continue to frequent?
Nevertheless she dutifully follows Chloe to the armchair, standing anxiously beside her while her best friend takes a seat. Chloe is smiling politely at the woman while being asked some simple questions like how long she’s had the piercing and when she first noticed the stud itself had become enclosed within her ear. All the while, Beca is feeling more and more anxious. And with that anxiety come the nausea.
“So if you wanted to hold your girlfriend’s hand, just for a bit of support while I numb the area.” the woman says slowly while her focus hones in on Chloe’s ear. Beca is a little too nervous to address the label the woman gave them. Just like she’s a little too nervous to address the fact that Chloe hasn’t corrected her. Because they’re not girlfriends. Just best friends who happen to have recently graduated college, become world champions of acapella, and now live together.
Beca knows she shouldn’t look. She really shouldn’t. But just as the piercing lady asks Chloe to count down from three, Beca looks at Chloe’s infected ear. Which is exactly the moment the woman gets a small metal tool to fish out the stud that’s surrounded by pus and a bit of blood. And all of a sudden Beca feels like she’s going to throw up.
“…one!” Chloe reaches, squeezing her eyes shut. Squeezing Beca’s hand firmly. And just as she does, the piercing woman catches hold of the stud with a tool similar to tweezers and yanks it out, pus and blood included. Beca can’t contain her nausea any longer, twists her body, and throws up. All over the floor. And all over the poor woman’s black leather boots.
“-it was hilarious.”
Beca feels her cheeks burn, embarrassment enveloping her body. Oh god, she’d been so horrified by that moment she’d managed to block it out!! But it’s no wonder this woman can remember it.
“You still with the girl?” the woman asks with a grin, and Beca can’t help the small smile that draws across her face. She hadn’t been with the girl at the time, but she absolutely is now.
“We’re now married.” she replies proudly, motioning to Sophia beside her. “And this is our daughter.”
She finds a scrap of joy in the way the woman’s eyes light up at this information. Just like she’s found joy in the way her teenage daughter now has tears in her eyes she’s been laughing so hard.
Beca has to admit, she doesn’t just love teasing her daughter. She loves making her laugh too. Even if the source of comedy is at her expense, almost twenty years later.
90 notes · View notes
A Little Kindness
Explanation of AU
Chapters: [to be added]
In which Raine meets Hunter years before canon, and decides that a kid like him could use all the help he could get with an uncle like Belos. Even if they couldn't go much, they could try something, couldn't they?
Years down the line, Raine is exposed as a traitor to the Emperor's Coven, and they are bound by the brand on their own wrist. Hunter notices. And as to be expected, he has more than a few complaints.
It's not a big surprise on who he goes to for help.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
It first started when Hunter was twelve.
Belos had taken him in a few years ago, and he’d only just started becoming the Golden Guard last year. Each year Belos promised he would have more and more responsibilities, and he’d just started allowing Hunter to go out without the need for supervision to carry out his work.
It was exciting, being out on his own. His uncle trusted him, it was an honor. He knew that Belos wouldn’t give him this much responsibility and expect it to go easy.
And that’s how he found himself in his room after his third mission on his own, clutching a bleeding arm as he hissed and fumbled around for the medic kit beside his bed. He’d put it there a few years ago, when Belos began showing he would not be giving Hunter that much special treatment just because he was his uncle. Those who failed would be punished accordingly, and he had to make accommodations for that inevitability until it would no longer be an issue.
He opened up his med kit with his uninjured hand, grimacing when he saw that he was running low on gauzes. Whatever, he could just space out the times when he changed them, it wasn’t like changing a bit less than usual would immediately cause an infection, it was just a precaution. He’d be fine, probably.
He sighed and dug out the gauzes, rolling up his bloody sleeve and grimacing at the torn wound as blood threatened to drip onto his bed. He held his arm out and hissed in quiet words to not be too loud as he wrapped the gauzes around his arm, attempting to measure how much he really needed, and how much he could spare.
It was then he heard shuffling from beyond his door. It was faint, but he instantly stilled, ears pricked. He had half a mind to stuff his med kit back under his bed, but if whoever was out there didn’t mean to come in, he didn’t want to alert them.
After a moment of silence, there was some more shuffling before something small was slid through the crack under his door.
He tensed, for a moment wondering if something akin to a bomb had been slid in, but when nothing happened, he slipped off his bed and peered down at the object.
A small roll of gauze. It was thin, and not quite as durable as the stuff he used, but it was gauze, and that was the important part.
Hunter frowned, picking it up and turning it over in his hands before his gaze fell to the door.
“What is the meaning of this?” He demanded.
Silence answered them.
Hunter frowned and tore off the strand of gauze he was already using with his teeth, making sure it was secure around his arm, and frowning as he saw the blood already begin to soak through. He tossed the thinner roll onto his bed before reaching for the door handle. He threw his door open, poking his head out and looking up and down the barren, echoing hallways.
Nothing. Not a single witch or guard to alert him.
It was far beyond suspicious, but it’s not like he could go around asking who slid gauze under his door. Then they’d ask questions, and Belos wouldn’t appreciate the answers. So with one last glare down both ends of the hallway, he slowly shut his door again and went back to patching up his arm.
Then it kept happening.
The next two times were the same, gauzes the second time again, sterile wipes the third. He didn’t particularly need the gauzes the second time, but they were a better brand. He didn’t need the sterile wipes either, but he had been hurt by someone shady with metal weapons that he doubted had been cleaned recently, so it was definitely an appreciated gesture.
And a worrying one, that this wasn’t just some random guard thinking that the Golden Guard was weak and needed help. But someone who knew of him, and knew of missions he went on, and clearly at the very least read the reports on the mission, or heard him complaining about it. Because he rarely took the same guards two times in a row, so it couldn’t have been someone he worked with, right?
The fourth time it happened he swore he almost caught them. He heard the shuffling, waited for the gift, only Band-Aids this time, and swung his door wide open. The hooded figure was already hurrying down the hallway, and immediately ran when his door opened. He followed, but when he turned the corner, they were already gone.
After that, if he forgot to lock his door, a habit he fell out of practice with given that nobody ever really visited him, the items were always left on his nightstand or bed, waiting patiently. They weren’t there every time he got hurt, but they were never there the times he wasn’t hurt, so.
And it didn’t stop at medical supplies, apparently. Because after a long mission outside of the Emperor’s Castle, where he left in the early morning and didn’t come back until dusk was already gone, he found a few small snack bars laying on his bed. They were health bars, typically eaten in the mornings, but food was food, and he wasn’t going to complain.
He told himself that it was just someone who was pitying him, and as weirded out he was that someone was constantly sneaking around and risking quite a lot just to give him these things, it was...oddly touching?
So as much as he itched to find out who it was, he worried that someone might ask even more questions if he did. And the gifts may stop, and of course he didn’t need or even really want any of them, he told himself, but he certainly wouldn’t pass up on free medical supplies and snacks. So he let it continue.
Then the notes started.
Hunter had come back from an early morning patrol, completely exhausted by midday and continuing on via a single health bar. Belos had simply acknowledged his report and let him continue on, with far more pressing matters to attend to, if Hunter had to guess. He didn’t mind so much, he told himself, he liked the break.
And he will admit, he might have been a little excited when he opened his door and found a small pile of chip bags on his bed. They were clearly from the vending machine two hallways over that some guards had snuck in a few months back and nobody bothered to remove it yet, but he would happily take the gesture.
He shut the door and wandered over to his bed, picking up the first bag he found, popping it open as he looked over the other contents.
That’s when he saw a piece of paper nestled in between the bags, out of sight unless he moved them aside. He frowned and reached in to pick it up, turning it over and realizing there was writing on it.
Not the healthiest, I know. The note read. But I thought you could use it. You like apples, right?
In the bottom right corner was a small, shabbily drawn picture of a bat with an apple in its mouth.
Hunter stared at the note for a moment before slowly setting it down. The intruder had never contacted him directly, just giving him items and then leaving. Sort of an unspoken agreement, he supposed.
He wondered if he should be memorizing the handwriting. Though, he figured he wouldn’t exactly get a moment where he’d get to look over the handwriting of everyone in the Emperor’s Coven. It’d get some odd looks if he asked for a mandatory test of sorts.
He didn’t reply to the note, just put it in his drawer and told himself to forget about it. But there was an apple on his table a few days later all the same.
The notes didn’t stop there.
They became a common occurrence with his gifts, almost every time. With medicine, medical supplies, snacks, even a pair of gloves once when his old ones got torn up at The Knee. They were two sizes too big for him, but he made it work. They always signed their notes with a bat in the corner.
The notes were mostly rambling, some questions about what he liked. He never really responded to them, the intruder - he supposed he should call them something other than that - would pretty much always give him what they asked about anyway.
But one note caught his eye.
Do you like to read?
It was nestled among the antiseptic ointment he’d been given, and Titan, he really never needed to get supplies ever again, and he paused at it. The note said something else about him better not getting tetanus, and the little questioning line was at the bottom of the note, as if scribbled on at the last minute. The bat had glasses on it this time.
He figured it was something they just scribbled on to be conversational, even if he never responded. Even still, he turned the note over to the blank side and sifted through his drawers until he found a pen that wasn’t dead on ink.
You ever heard of the Division Chronicles?
They were a simple series, one he recalled being about a warring city that banded together after the main character came to lead it or something. It was an old series, and he had read the third book only once when he was younger and didn’t understand the bigger words in the slightest. It was some series that he knew for a fact had been encouraged by the Emperor’s Coven, and he didn’t have much interest in it, but it wouldn’t hurt to see if they’d actually get the books, right?
He told himself he was just bored and left the note on his nightstand when he left on a mission a couple of days later.
When he returned, there was no note, and no book. He convinced himself he wasn’t disappointed and ignored it.
Two days later, the book was sitting on his bed.
Sorry it took me a little while, the note said. old books aren’t so easy to find. Do tell if you’d like the rest. The bat had a book in its wings this time.
He did not want the rest, but that didn’t matter in the slightest to him.
This person wasn’t pitying him at this point, they couldn’t be, right? Medical supplies and food was one thing, going out of their way to find the first book of an old series that barely anyone cared about was another. It had been a one-off question, he’d replied, and they’d answered. This was...he wasn’t sure what it was, actually. Were they bored? Did they get a kick out of...what, being nice to him?
He didn’t understand it in the slightest. He contemplated attempting to wait them out and catch them red-handed. But Belos would notice if he skipped a mission to wait out the intruder, and he didn’t really like the idea of scaring them off.
So, once, he grabbed one of the notes he kept in his drawers, flipped it over, and scribbled a quick question before he left to await an answer.
Who are you?
The response came almost immediately, the note waiting for him on his bed.
A friend. You can call me Bat, if you’d prefer. I like to think it fits my theme.
The doodle of the bat looked more like a symbol this time, compared to the cartoony ones from before. Like a stamp, or an insignia, and he almost snorted at their little gimmick when he saw it.
A friend. He didn’t know how he felt about that. He felt almost like he was doing something wrong by considering them a friend, like this was something Belos would punish him for.
Why are you doing this?
It wasn’t until the note had already been taken he worried he might have come off a bit harsh, and became even more conflicted at why he cared if he sounded a bit harsh to a stranger helping him in a note.
Old habits die hard, I wanted to help. I can leave, if you want.
The bat was simple this time, with no clever change to it. Simply an assurance that this was still written by the same person. Nothing to convince him, or make him feel bad if he told them to leave him alone.
The answer was simple, and Hunter could reason that they might have been trying to not come off as offensive, that someone like him would need help. He didn’t know if he was even more offended or touched that they tried to be as light as possible.
He stared at the last line, for a bit longer than he’d probably admit. It took him a few days before he responded, and there were no gifts from Bat during that time. And wasn’t that just great, he’d started calling them by their alias.
Have you ever been by the bakery two streets off of the marketplace? Stole a loaf from them once.
It was vague. But despite that, he had a single loaf from that exact bakery stuffed under his pillows a few days later, with a note berating him for stealing instead of paying, and honestly, they would’ve thought he knew better than that. With no mention of their previous conversation, and a bat shaking its wing at him drawn in the corner.
Despite himself, he smiled.
And that's how it was. Hunter would get a gift, a note, and sometimes he’d talk back before it fizzled out and went back to simple gift-giving again.
Once, after a rather arduous week, he came back to his room to find a book on his bed. Most of the books in his bookshelf were from Bat these days, even if he never finished half of them.
This one, however, was titled From Bones to Earth: A Study of Wild Magic. Rather prominently on the front cover, too.
He scrambled to cover the title, like someone would walk in and see. He fumbled with the book for a moment, throat dry as he picked off the note nestled between the pages.
You left your other book on wild magic out in the open a little while ago. I put it under your bed. Thought you might like another. I hear this one has high marks.
The handwriting was light, like Bat was unsure if they should be writing it at all. The bat doodle was simple and plain, though one of its feet was holding a little pen.
Hunter was half ecstatic at having a new book on wild magic he didn’t have to steal this time, half terrified out of his mind that someone knew. Someone in the Emperor’s Coven knew that he had books on wild magic. Belos would give him a fancy new scar on his face if he knew Hunter went out of his way to study wild magic, that his curiosity went beyond questions.
And yet, Bat had hidden it, placed the book under his bed like they said, and given him another.
He held the book tightly and always triple checked his room for anything out of place after that.
When he was fifteen, Belos had given him a sharp scar over his right shoulder. It was his fault, really, he’d messed up a mission, badly. There had been massive property damage, and every single wild witch had escaped, including the three that had previously been in their custody. Belos had punished him as seen fit, and Hunter wobbled out of his uncle's throne room, clutching his shoulder under his cloak and hoping the blood beginning to soak through wouldn’t be too noticeable until he reached his room.
“Oh, a-are you alright?”
Hunter snapped his head up, grateful that his mask was still in place. A person he vaguely recognized from seeing here and there stood before him, only because of the mint hair, really, one hand half reached out and brows pinched together. He couldn’t remember their name at the moment, he was a little occupied. Didn’t matter much, anyway.
“Out of my way,” Hunter snapped, stepping around them and continuing his march. “I’m perfectly fine. I’m rather busy at the moment.”
“Oh, right, yes, of course.” They said quietly, stepping out of the way and keeping their hands to themselves. “Er, apologies.”
Hunter’s grip tightened without him meaning to, and he flinched at his hand pressed harder onto his wound. He saw the person begin to reach out for him again, barely a fraction, before thinking better of it and drawing away. Good, news like this would spread like wildfire if he was caught getting help from some random person in the Coven, he thought bitterly.
Though, now that he got a second eyeful of their appearance, he faintly recalled them being a teacher that worked closely with the Coven. From the Bard Coven, he remembered. Why they were so deep in the Emperor’s Castle, he didn’t particularly care.
He ignored the eyes burning holes into his back as he fled down the corridor, quietly cursing to himself the whole way.
He didn’t have a gift when he got back to his room, but he didn’t care much, he had more than enough to look after himself. More bitter than anything as he bandaged his wound and got a new, fresh cloak from his closet. His current was blood-soaked now, and no matter how hard he tried, he could never get blood completely out of white cloth.
He awoke at an early hour the next day, finding that Bat had apparently visited him while he was asleep, which was a far bolder move than they’d ever tried, and hadn’t ever done since.
There was a roll of gauzes, medical needle and thread (which he hadn’t needed this time, thankfully), a potion he recognized as pain relief, and a handful of candy bars that definitely weren’t from the Coven’s vending machine, the smaller items slid under his door and the potion sitting outside his door.
I’m sorry. The note read, taped to a candy bar. I don’t really know what else to give. A doodle of a bat was in the middle of the page now, a cutesy little thing with wings raised high.
You’ll be okay. It said right underneath it.
It was a little ridiculous, Hunter thought as he re-read the words and held a pillow tightly to his chest. The bat looking this cute was a new one, as was the sheer number of gifts. Usually there were one or two different kinds of gifts thrown in, and now he had different kinds of medical supplies, plus about five different kinds of candy bars.
They’d stated as such they didn’t know what they were doing, and as obvious as that was...he found himself appreciating the gesture all the same. He was pretty sure they must’ve heard about what happened, they somehow almost always seem to know, and the final sentence at the bottom was something he locked his eyes on as he read it over and over again.
He kept the note in his top drawer, among the few handful of others he’d decided to keep. He hung the potion on his wall, telling himself to only use it when he needed it. It was the strong stuff, and he didn’t know how Bat had gotten it, but he was certainly impressed.
A friend, he thought to himself, might be alright.
When the cardinal came to him, and wouldn’t leave no matter how hard he tried, he knew there would be a problem.
He still wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do with it--he--whatever--but it wouldn’t stay put. And the last thing he wanted was Bat to find out about it. Giving him books on wild magic was one thing, maybe they just thought it was a weird hobby, but a palisman? Within the walls of the Emperor’s Castle? He’d get sold out and impaled through in an instant. The cardinal would be dead, Luz would definitely hate him for letting that happen, and Belos would never trust him again.
And maybe a part of him was panicking, but he felt it was justified.
So, he did the first thing he thought of, and put the cardinal in a small box, locked it, and put it in his bottom drawer. Palismans didn’t need air, he checked. And in his defense, he had warned the thing that there was a serious danger from wandering about, and told it he would be back to release it.
And yet, he still came back to find the cardinal perched on the headboard of his bed, with a note taped to his nightstand that said; Your little friend doesn’t seem to appreciate being locked in a box for hours. I think you underestimate how well a palisman can hide when they don’t want to be found.
The bat in the corner was accompanied by a cardinal this time, both of them looking rather smug.
“For Titan’s sake.” Hunter groaned, shooting a glare at the bird, and he swore it was grinning at him. “This is your way of rebelling, huh?” He grumbled.
The cardinal simply chirped at him in response.
He found a book all about palisman care hidden under his bed, that the cardinal was just overjoyed to show him, only a day later. He found it rather impressive how Bat could single handedly annoy him to the point of contemplating setting another trap to find out who they were, just to shove the book down their throat.
Even so, he let the cardinal wander freely in his room, with the window and door locked, of course. Bat simply reverted back to sliding gifts under the door when he wasn’t there. And gave the cardinal treats, apparently, because he found out pretty quickly when he caught the palisman still eating some off the floor when he returned.
He told Bat not to spoil his palisman, and only got a whole bag of bird seeds dropped off at his door in response. He figured he shouldn’t have expected anything less of them. At least the cardinal seemed to like them.
Then Raine Whispers became the head of the Bard Coven.
Didn’t affect him much, Hunter couldn’t have really cared less. Whispers had been a Bard Coven teacher for many years, and excelled at what they did. They weren’t at all cut out for leading a Coven as prominent and talkative as the Bards could be, but they were powerful, so Belos insisted on them gaining their rank.
Whispers was nice enough, though they always seemed to be watching him whenever the two crossed paths. It never felt malicious, just...curious.
Still, he didn’t notice much when they became head of the Bard Coven, and just continued on with his life. He was thinking of naming his palisman, giving the little guy an identity. He had a list of names ready, and planned on asking Bat if they had an opinion. He absolutely wasn’t going to pick any of the names Bat agreed on, but it would be funny to imagine their reaction to his plan.
Raine Whispers was revealed to be a traitor. Working against the Emperor’s Coven from the inside. They’d barely had their position before it was stripped away. Hunter really just thought it was a pity they blew the best chance they had at getting as close to dismantling Belos as possible in one fell swoop. He remembered wondering if Luz would’ve ever teamed up with them. Wouldn’t surprise him much, she had a knack for causing mutinies and traitorous tendencies. He would know.
But he continued on. Because Whispers was just like any other person thrown to the heap of his uncle's reign. Another fallen witch among the many. He pitied them more, after he heard how close they’d gotten to ending Darius and Eberwolf, too.
Ah, well. The world keeps on turning.
Bat hadn’t left a note in a week.
Something had gone wrong.
Bat didn’t even need a reason to leave notes these days, just leaving one whenever they felt like it, sometimes not even with a gift. He’d had other missions and expeditions, and a rather long all-nighter of attempting to search for the wild witches that escaped via the help of Whispers rebellious group, the BATs, that ended in failure, and Bat hadn’t even given him a joking note afterwards.
Bat would have stretches of silence, but there was at least one note they’d leave within a week, at least telling him they wouldn’t be around for a little while. Technically speaking, it had been nine days since he last heard from them, but he hadn’t left his room on a mission for two of those days, so he chalked it up to them simply not having the right moment to give him a gift.
The cardinal was in a frenzy the whole time, too. Anxiously flying about his room and pecking at his gloves and fishing for the notes Bat would leave and pecking at them impatiently. Little guy was on edge, and that was really the final clue that something had gone horribly wrong.
He lay awake thinking about it for hours, worried that Bat may have been caught sending notes and presents to him. Had they been punished for speaking with him? What if they were trying to get him a book on wild magic and had been caught? Had they realized what a miserable traitor he was, and abandoned him? Had the Coven figured out Hunter was a traitor and Bat took the fall?
He eyed all the Coven members that worked closely with him to a slightly uncomfortable amount. None appeared to be particularly out of it, or missing. Everything continued on.
It was by the eleventh day, laying in his bed and staring at the ceiling, that he started internally chalking up any important events that had happened. Perhaps Belos or Kikimora had mentioned something off-hand that he brushed off. Maybe he’d slept through something important again, like the ceremony for Raine Whispers becoming head Bard, and nobody had caught him up on it.
Maybe it was something to do with Whispers capture. Perhaps Bat was part of the Bard Coven, and they’d been investigated after Whispers betrayal. Maybe they’d been shaken up about the whole thing. Worried that Hunter might become like Whispers and distanced themselves. Whispers had the BATs after all, it wouldn’t be so hard to believe that perhaps Bat had been closely associated with someone in the BATs--
He stopped, frowning at his ceiling. He backtracked on that last thought.
Whispers led the BATs. Whispers was revealed to be a traitor on the exact same week that Bat cut contact. Whispers had been working closely with the Emperor’s Coven, even joining them, in the same years that Bat had been speaking with him. BATs. Bat.
Hunter sprung upright, startling his cardinal awake with a squawk, staring at the wall with wide eyes and nothing but panic racing through his head.
30 notes · View notes