Chapter 1: What Does the Fox Say?
After his class is cancelled, Sam goes to the computer lab. He ends up looking something up on a whim and is not the least bit disappointed.
If you've never seen a video of a fox laughing, look one up today. I promise it is worth the few minutes you'll spend crying over the cute.
What Does The Fox Say?
When Sam got to his Algebra II class, the door was shut and there was a note taped to it. He squinted at the tiny writing he recognized as Dr. Roderick’s and sighed when he read that class had been cancelled for the day.
I really need to get a laptop, he thought to himself. If he’d had one, he could have read the email he was sure was sitting in his inbox and avoided the necessity of rushing here.
With nothing else planned for the afternoon, Sam headed off to the computer lab to finish the essay for his Arthurian Literature class. It wasn’t due for another two weeks but he wanted to get it done ahead of time so he didn’t have to worry about it. Professor Ryan had not been particularly subtle about her promise to introduce them to dragon fire if any of them were late turning in assignments. Plus it kept him from having to rush if anything weird came up.
And considering his life, the possibility of that was always about 15.3 on a scale of one to ten.
Dropped his bag next to an empty chair, Sam logged into a vacant computer in the lab, signing into his email first to check if Dr. Roderick had left them any additional assignments. He rolled his eyes as he saw he had a new email from Rey. It was probably yet another joke about candy. If Sam had thought tricksters were obsessed with sugar before he got to know one as close as he did Rey. Well, he knew better now.
“Razzles, dude?” he muttered, staring at the cartoon rattlesnake with a multi-colored rattle. “Rey, you are a weirdo.” More amusing was the thought that Rey had probably laughed himself silly when he first saw the cartoon, and Sam had to smile at the thought that one of the first things the kitsune trickster did was send it to him. And Alice and Kathy, by the look of the email tag.
He was just about to click into the email from Dr. Roderick when he had a thought. With a quirk of his lips, Sam opened an internet browser.
It could amount to nothing. Could be an absolute waste of his time. And yet there was a thought playing in Sam’s head - the memory of poking Rey in the side and hearing the strangest sort of giggle in response.
He typed “laughing fox” into the search engine and waited a moment, amused when a series of videos popped up on the screen, along with a series of webpage results.
With an uncertain smile, Sam clicked one of the videos at random.
A moment later, he had to shove his fist in his mouth to keep from laughing when a high-pitching trilling cackle erupted from the mouth of the fox on screen. Sam snorted hard against his fist and shook with laughter as he played the video again.
Oh my Chuck, he thought, copying the video.
A moment later he had pasted it into an email and, knowing they would have no idea the context but unable to help himself, typed “What does the fox say?” in the subject line.
He sent it off to Rey, Kathy, and Alice and finally gave into his laughter.
He’d have to remember to buy Rey some razzles later, to bribe him for mercy. One thing he had definitely learned from being friends with a trickster: always have candy on hand. If nothing else, you could throw it at them and try and make a get away.
On second thought, maybe he’d get some of those gigantic jawbreakers. They were heavier.
Chapter 2: Down the Rabbit Hole
Samandriel and Matt are unwilling guests of Miss Watt, who has a proposal for the angel.
This is a short follow-up to Of Music & Memories, to explain who Miss Watt is and where Samandriel and Matt have been taken.
This follows directly after Of Music & Memories.
Stay tuned for more drabbles!
Down the Rabbit Hole
“Samandriel?” Matt whispered, staring out into the room. It was dark, all of the lights turned off and the windows dimly lit with only moonlight. “Are you cold?”
”Yeah,” the angel said, curled up in Matt’s center. ”Sorry. I can’t seem to warm us.”
“S’ok.” Matt laid his head down on the bottom of the cage. “What do they want?”
”... it could be me. Angels.”
“Why?” He felt the shuffle of wings as Samandriel shrugged. “What else could it be?”
Samandriel hesitated, and when he spoke, his voice was regretful. ”They could want you, because you are my vessel. You have my grace in you now and some residue will always remain, even if I leave. I’m sorry, Matt. I’ve put you in so much danger.”
Matt didn’t say anything for a while. He didn’t like being here, didn’t want to be a prisoner, but he couldn’t think of never having met Samandriel. Never having him here, with him, sounded like a terror worse than this.
“Samandriel?” he whispered, thinking of wings that could carry the angel away, if given the chance.
“Don’t... don’t leave, okay?”
”I won’t,” the angel whispered. ”I’m going to protect you, Matt. I promise.”
And I’ll protect you, Matt thought, but before he could say anything, he was asleep.
They were called the Men of Letters, the British division. The American division had been destroyed without mercy, and so few in America even knew such a faction had once existed. Certainly all of their bases and the resources they had gathered had been lost, and so even if someone were searching for Matt, they would not know where to look.
“But we are not without mercy,” Miss Watt said. She was the leader of this particular group, the one making the decisions on what to do with Samandriel and with Matt. “So I will make you a deal.”
“Angels don’t make deals,” Samandriel said, as Matt stepped back to let him speak. “You’re thinking of demons.”
Miss Watt smiled sharply. “Actually, I was thinking of humans. You’ve spent enough time with this one I’m sure you can appreciate a deal. For instance, this particular deal will let you protect him, so long as you do as you’re told.”
Samandriel glared at her and didn’t say anything. She took it as agreement to listen.
“We want you, to study you, see how you work, and we are going to do that whether you like it or not. But I know you’re rather protective of your human meatsuit, so we’ve decided to offer you an alternative.”
She stepped to the side and made a motion behind her to indicate the wire-frame cage that sat in the center of the room. There was a small brown rabbit inside, currently cleaning its ears.
“You can move into this form, leave the boy, and we’ll do our experiments without harming him.” She shrugged. “Or stay. It doesn’t matter to us in the long run. It’s just a bit messy, you see, having to dispose of the bodies when we’re done with them. Humans so rarely survive the process...”
Samandriel let out a sound like a growl, but inside his mind was whirling.
He didn’t trust them.
He didn’t trust that they were telling the truth. That they wanted him.
Because yes, he could leave Matt’s body, but if they gave him that autonomy, if he could so easily move around, then he could just as easily destroy the cage that held Matt, and free them both.
But if he entered the rabbit’s form, they could trap him in it. It wasn’t impossible. And in so small a form, he wouldn’t be able to protect Matt if he needed to.
But would Matt be safe if he stayed?
Samandriel? Matt’s voice whispered against his grace.
”Trust me, little brother,” Samandriel murmured quietly back, curling his wings around Matt’s soul.
Matt’s soul tightened around him in return. I do.
“If you promise not to hurt Matt, I’ll go,” Samandriel said, glaring at her.
Miss Watt smiled genially. “A wise decision. Ketch.”
A tall man with dark hair stepped away from the wall where he had been standing and went over to the cage. The rabbit was gently set on the floor, where it hunkered down and eyed them all worriedly, as the cage was removed.
Miss Watt sent him a smile. “Go on, then.”
Samandriel nodded and tightened his wings around Matt, and then his grace began to carefully dig around the edges of Matt’s soul.
What are you doing?
”I promised to keep you safe,” Samandriel said, carefully clutching Matt’s soul to him, wrapping it tightly in his wings. ”Trust me, Matt. We’ll get out of this.”
I was sure Sam would come for us... But it’d been three days now and Matt was so tired, so cold, and so scared. He’d been sure Sam would come - sure in a way he couldn’t quite explain - but doubt had begun to creep in. How could Sam possibly find them here, when Matt didn’t even know where here was?
”He will.” He pressed his face against Matt’s soul. ”Have faith, little brother.” And then he pushed Matt’s soul out of his body, guiding it as carefully and gently as he could, into the body of the rabbit. He sent a quiet apology to the small creature as its small soul was severed with the sharp snap of a wing, sending it on, and making room for Matt’s.
He made certain that his human’s soul was holding in the rabbit’s before he retreated, just in time. A lit match struck the ground and the oil that had been surrounding the rabbit burst into flame. Holy oil. To keep an angel trapped.
“That was easy,” Ketch said, smirking.
Miss Watt smirked back at him, then turned that expression on Samandriel. “Now that he’s out of the way, we can do what we came here to do.”
“But you said you wanted Samandriel,” he said, careful to match his tone to Matt’s. They needed to believe that he was the human. It was the only way to keep Matt safe, and he would do whatever he needed to accomplish that.
“I lied,” she said sweetly. “What do we care about the angel when we have a child who has been touched by grace? How much will you continue to heal, I wonder, with the residue of that still in your veins? And imagine if we could manufacture it, how unstoppable we’d be.” She reached her hand through the bars and ruffled his hair. “Thanks to your idiot angel, we may get everything we need to make the British Men of Letters strong enough to face off the very worst of the supernatural, and come out on top.”
She began giving orders to the other people in the room, and Samandriel looked back at Matt. He was sitting up on his hind legs, ears flattened against his skull as he stared with wide, fearful eyes.
Samandriel wished he could wrap Matt in his wings again, but that would have to wait until they got out of this.
“What about Samandriel?” He looked at Miss Watt, who glanced at the rabbit. “What’re you going to do with him?”
“We May find a use for him later. For now, that ring will hold him.”
The cage was lifted and Samandriel fell back against the bars as Ketch and another man began to carry him from the room.
“Come along, Mister Pike. Lots to do.”
Samandriel glanced back at Matt one more time. He would be safe for now and Sam would get them out of it - Samandriel knew that, though he couldn’t explain how he knew. But Sam would come.
Until then, he would do whatever he needed to keep Matt safe.
That was his job.