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Under My Mumbrella

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When Angus is very little, just after his parents have died, he’s shuffled into his Grandfather’s study. There are magical items of every size, shape, and school on proud display within the room and Angus can just barely contain his curiosity. His Grandpa smiles sadly at him, ruffles his hair gently and says he can choose whichever object he likes best to display in his new room in his Grandpa’s mansion in Neverwinter.

Angus takes his time looking, and he runs his hands gently along all of the objects that his Grandpa sets on the table before him. Some of them are fascinating and some of them he thinks his Grandpa only brought out to make him giggle. Like the little enchanted tea set that dances in circles or the silly tapestry of an entire town made of candy. Angus thinks he’s very mature that neither of these childish options catches his eye for more than a few moments.

Angus is a practical boy, it’s one of the few compliments his father gives--ever gave him. That when Angus doesn’t have his head in the clouds it’s always stuck in a book and isn’t that like a good, studious lad. So his hands roam further alongside the long display table, over a scrying sphere, and he almost chooses a big book that he just knows must be magic it’s so pretty--but then something else catches his eye.

He thinks it’s a lady’s parasol. Bright red brocade stands out but what really draws Angus’ attention is the delicate golden filigree on the handle. He touches it almost reverently and thinks it must be the prettiest thing he’s ever seen--And as soon as the thought leaves his mind the handle warms and Angus’ eyes widen.

Magic--Its must be magic.

“Oh, that’s an odd one, my dear boy. Are you sure you wouldn’t like something more exciting?”

Angus hesitates because he doesn’t want his grandpa to think he’s odd--Even if he might be, just a little bit because sometimes he hears his nannies use that word when they think he isn’t paying attention. Which isn’t very perceptive of them, because Angus is very perceptive and he’s always paying attention. Still, he likes this one. He likes the way it buzzes under his palm, like when he used to catch bumblebees in the estate gardens before his nannies scolded him for getting grass stains on his trousers.

He shakes his head and carefully lifts the parasol, tucking it gently under his arm like he’d seen his mother do at teatime. He likes this one very much, and he tells his Grandpa as much in fewer words. His nannies say it’s very important that children are seen and not heard--At least not unless spoken to.

That thought, it has the parasol buzzing again but differently this time, more like a hornet than a bumblebee. Without thinking, Angus smooths his hand over the fabric like he’s soothing a grumbly cat and the parasol settles. You have to stay calm, Angus thinks, if Grandpa knows you’re magic he won’t let me keep you. It bumblebee buzzes again and the little boy grins while his Grandpa shrugs and sends him off to attend his afternoon lessons.

Angus brings his new parasol with him.


 

Angus has had his new parasol for exactly eight days before something actually magical happens. Angus is reading after his bedtime because he sneaks candles from the dining hall and books from Grandpa’s study. Grandpa doesn’t know he can read as well as he does, and Angus is in no hurry to let him know.

When his nannies back at mother’s estate learned he was taking books from father’s study they’d been so cross with him they’d taken all the books from his room, even the baby ones, so he couldn’t read anything but study work for an entire week. He has no interest in a repeat of such events.

So now Angus is much more careful, he’s figured out that if he holds his parasol just so no one can tell that he’s also holding a book behind his back. Really, it just makes him happier he picked something so useful as a parasol. The parasol seems to agree with him because sometimes it’s handle knocks against his wrist without Angus turning it when a maid walks by. It lets Angus know to turn his body just so.

He’s been borrowing more books now than he can remember reading in all of his time at his parent’s house and it’s all very exciting.

It’s late now, he thinks it’s nearly three in the morning but he just has to finish the grand tome he’d borrowed the night before. It’s so very interesting and he’s afraid it’s too fancy for him to keep it longer than a single night without notice. So he reads and reads and reads some more until his head starts to dip and his grip on the book wavers. He’s out like a light and the heavy tome falls forward, knocking directly into the candle holder and sending it tumbling down onto the plush floor. Angus blinks blearily, the sound rousing him enough to release a groggy whine. On his lap the parasol buzzes urgently, suddenly he hears a voice, loud and clear in his sleep-addled brain.

Kid, you need to wake up! Please, little man! Just wake up!”

The unfamiliar voice and the smell of smoke hits Angus like a battlewagon and he jolts awake. He yelps and scrambles out of his chair, knocking his parasol down as he hits the ground hard enough to make his eyes water. He whimpers softly, eyes wide at the slowly growing fire on his carpet but paralyzed to move.

Then the parasol shudders and stands up on it’s handle, all on it’s own, Angus almost cries when it teeters back and forth before falling towards the fire. It’s all his fault, he’s been careless and now he’s going to lose his new gift and he’s ruined his new room and Grandpa is going to be so angry--

But the parasol lands adjacent to the fire and it doesn’t burn, it opens up so fast and suddenly that Angus nearly misses it in his panic. He only catches the sudden gust of wind the movement summoned blow out the growing blaze until it’s barely a smolder. Then the parasol seems to sag even more unnaturally as it drops to the ground again, jittering like a dying beetle--like it's tired.

“You--You spoke," He yelps, scrambling forward and snatching the parasol up and away from the ashy hole in his carpet, “You saved me.”

The parasol buzzes very lightly, softer than it ever has before and Angus frowns.

“But--But you talked, I swear you talked!”

He sits on his floor, the parasol in his lap and closes his eyes--When it talked to him last time his eyes were closed. So maybe that’s the secret, he can only hear the parasol’s magic voice if he isn’t looking. He shuts his eyes tightly as he’s able and whispers, “It’s okay if you’re shy, but you don’t have to be scared of me. You saved me so, that makes you my friend, right?”

There’s no buzzing, not like it’s been doing the last few days instead there’s almost a warmth emanating from it. It feels nice, like hot cocoa or a hug from his Grandpa. Still, it’s not talking like he wanted--which leaves Angus a little disappointed but with a new mystery, he didn’t have before. That’s something at least, he very much likes figuring out mysteries.

Resigned to the fact that maybe, just maybe, the parasol can’t talk to him again for some other reason Angus shuffles up from the floor. He glances over at the hole burnt in the carpet next to his desk and quickly moves his waste bin from the opposite side of his desk to cover it. Good as new really, just so long as no one looks too closely and Angus is a very good boy so no one usually looks that closely.

Lastly, he tucks the stolen tome under his bed and clambers up into it, for a moment he almost forgets about his newest enigma. He’s nearly tucked himself into bed when he glances at it once more,it leans against the foot of Angus’ bed. To Angus’ confusion, the fabric appears to be fluttering gently, as if caught in a light breeze but none of the little boy’s windows are open to facilitate such a thing.

“I don’t care what Grandpa said, you’re really exciting,” He crawls down to the edge of his bed and pulls the umbrella up. After a moment of thought he carefully tucks it in, so the handle lays against his pillows and it’s ‘body’ is tucked under the covers. He slips under the blankets himself and yawns, “Thank you for helping me, I hope we can be friends.”

Angus drifts off to sleep, as a soft voice drifts through his mind, “Sure we’re friends, kiddo. You look like you need someone to look out for you.”