Disclaimers: Do I really have to go through all that again? Y’all know the rules by now I hope.
For Froglet. You know why.
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Olivia pushed her way from under the fog of sleep, feeling a lot like she had when her oldest brother had accidentally run her over during a football game. She hurt all over, her head being the worst of it. After a moment of thinking, she decided that her head was not the worst of it; it was the bone chilling cold that had seeped in and made a home in her body.
She turned in bed and opened her eyes to find Cage dozing in a chair by the bed, a thick book abandoned on her chest. Blinking Olivia decided to just watch the woman for a while before announcing her awake state. Olivia decided after a few moments that she enjoyed seeing Cage in such an unguarded state. The woman was nothing less than peaceful right this moment; there were no ghosts, no memories in this speck of time. It was something she knew she would cherish for her lifetime Olivia instinctively understood.
The scent of sage seeped into her brain and she knew what Cage had done to ease her journey. Sitting up silently and carefully, Olivia was grateful. The sacred herb would help the native woman back softly into the world of the living, it would soothe her spirit and if the old ways were correct help heal her body. She shook her head still not understanding what had gone on.
It had not been her intent to do anything other than check on her friend and it had turned into something she was not sure she understood. Nothing like this had ever happened before if her memory was correct. Hearing the old, ancient voices was one thing but speaking for and with someone else’s voice was foreign. She was so going to have to call her mother and ask for advice and wisdom.
She pushed the blanket back away from her body despite the chill, she needed to use the bathroom and she desperately wanted a shower to try and warm up.
“What are you doing?” Cage whispered without opening her eyes.
Olivia’s heart nearly stopped. “You really need to stop that.” She managed a civil tone.
“Sorry. Heard you moving. Had to check on you.” Cage answered and finally opened her eyes.
Olivia was not sure how to react to the statement so she deflected. “What are you reading?”
“Irish folklore. It’s an anthology. Supposed to be our oral history.” Cage answered as she set the book aside and sat up. “How are you feeling?”
“Cold and I have to pee.” Olivia said as she stood up and gave herself a moment to readjust.
“Have at it. I’ll make breakfast and yes, I can cook breakfast.” She flashed a half smile full of guilt.
“Go pee and take a warm shower. We’ll talk after.” Cage said as she walked out of the room.
Olivia watched her go. “Damn the Irish, and damn her.”
Cage was just finishing setting the table when Olivia walked into the kitchen bundled in a thick sweater and equally thick sweats. She looked over and did not find the anger she expected.
“These are wonderful. I’m stealing them.” Olivia stated her intentions as she sat at the table.
“Consider them a gift.” Cage answered with lowered eyes.
“You have sage burning. How did you know?” Olivia started with the easiest.
“Joan. I called her last night. I had to know how to help since you were still so cold after three hours and since this is my fault.” Cage walked back to the pan and flipped the thick omelet.
“And what did the Lakota nation woman say?” Olivia asked as she watched her friend.
“She said to burn sage if you were not on your cycle…I guessed and took a chance. Besides I asked you and you said you weren’t.”
“I don’t remember you asking that.” Olivia nearly blushed.
“She said you might not remember much. And then I realized that I don’t have the first fecking clue what sage looks like, I had to call around and found some. Thank god the herbal store has late hours.”
“Cage the bacon is burning.” Olivia said quite calmly.
“Feck.” Cage turned her attention back to the present and pulled the pan off the fire cursing in the Irish.
“I’m sure I don’t want to know what all that means.” Olivia joked.
“I’m sure you don’t and do not tell my Mam I said those things.” Cage was not joking.
“Cage, you are how old and you are afraid of your mother knowing you cuss?”
Cage looked at Olivia. “Give me your mother’s number and I’ll tell about some of the curse words you use.”
“Point taken and no.” Olivia was quick to not push that topic any further.
“Uh huh.” Cage half smiled then it fell off her face. “I’m sorry.”
“Did you cause the voice?” Olivia asked as she sat back and twisted her neck to ease the pressure.
“I don’t know. It’s odd with my family. The Irish can be mystic and other worldly, so I can’t say yes or no.” Cage pulled the second pan off the fire and started dishing out breakfast for something to do.
“Are you a believer Cage?” Olivia really wanted to know.
“I don’t know.” Cage finished filling the plates. “Actually I don’t remember if I am or not.” She finally admitted. “There’s a lot I don’t remember.”
“Was it your fault?” Olivia asked without judgment.
“If I knew that answer I might calm down about it.” Cage said as she settled a plate in front of Olivia.
“I know someone who might be able to help you. If you don’t mind eighty year old medicine man.”
Cage shook her head and stifled the smart-ass chuckle. “I’d chew glass if I thought it could help.”
“I won’t make you chew glass, but I think it might help you to talk to him.” She answered honestly. “Thank you for breakfast and for taking care of me.”
“It’s my fault.”
“Stop it Cage. You aren’t responsible. It’s just the voices. They come when they come.”
Cage settled her plate on the table and fidgeted. “I don’t …”
“Shut up Quinn and eat your breakfast.” Olivia ordered with a small smile.
“How can you say that? I was an asshole last night, and to top it all off you end up channeling my granda.”
“I love you, that’s how.” Olivia snapped without thinking.
Cage stopped in her tracks, silent as the Egyptian tombs in the middle of the night.
“Oh.” Cage finally answered and sat down slowly. “You love me?” She asked in a timid voice.
“Well it’s not like I intended to say it like that, but yes.” Olivia stared at her breakfast.
Cage nodded absently. “Guess we have a lot to talk about.”
Olivia played with her eggs. “Yeah we do. I guess.”
“Do you really?”
Olivia thought about it for a long moment. “Yes I do.”
“You’re desperate then.”
Olivia chuckled as her fork touched her food. “Maybe. But you’ll find I’m consistent.”
“You should know that I’m probably not the best choice.” Cage advised.
“My heart doesn’t know that. I just know what I feel.”
Cage nodded and smiled. “You really love me.”
“Yes. Do you want it etched somewhere?” Olivia asked.
“No, just wanted to hear it again.” Cage admitted. “It’s nice to hear it.”
Olivia smiled and looked at Cage. “It’s nice to be able to say it.”
“Thank you. I’ve never had anyone say it before.” Cage said as she shifted her breakfast around her plate.
“No one?” Olivia put her fork down.
“No.” Cage said simply then felt compelled to explain. “The life I’ve had is not exactly conducive to successful relationships. In the past it’s been all about one-night stands, mostly with men. I don’t want to lie to you.”
Olivia swallowed hard. “Mostly?”
“Yeah. Mostly. I was all about the rush and the fun. Anything to feel something other than the cut throat fear my job can give you.” She said quietly. “It’s all about the fear, fear of getting found out, fear of failing and fear of being successful.”
“And now?” Olivia needed to ask.
Cage looked out the window. “Now, it’s about getting back to me. Trying to recall who I used to be, who I want to be again.”
“Who is that?”
“Gaiscioch. I lost me to the rush and I’d like to have me back. If I can remember who that is.”
“You should call Tommy and your parents and ask them.” Olivia suggested gently.
“You’re taking all of this very well.” Cage pushed her plate away.
“Eat your breakfast Quinn. I love you, and I know you won’t lie to me. You don’t strike me as the lying type.”
“And what if I am?” Cage asked around a mouthful of eggs.
“Then I’ll find out and leave.”
“That simple. Don’t ever lie to me or cheat on me and we’ll be good. I don’t even care if you flirt with others. Hell, I flirt.”
“I guess with us it’s like my mom said ‘I can flirt but I’ll go home with who brought me.”
“Maybe. We don’t know each other all that well yet. But I’m willing to take the chance. The question is are you?”
Cage chewed slowly as she thought. She pinned Olivia with her gaze. “I know that I care for you like I can’t believe. I won’t lie to you and with a name like Cage I’m all about chances.”
“Which means what?”
“It means I want a chance with you. I want to find out if you and I can find out if we fit. What do you want?”
“I want you.” Olivia admitted simply.
“You are truly not right in the head.”
Olivia nodded. “You’re probably right. I still know what I want.”
Cage shook her head again. “I just want you to know what you’re getting yourself into.”
“Do we ever know what we’re getting ourselves into? My first love turned out to be an emotional vampire,” Olivia shrugged and bit into a slightly over cooked slice of bacon. “We learn, we live and we move on.”
Cage stood up and faced the window. “In my case it was live, learn and get the shite kicked out of me.” She sighed. “What if I find that I can’t give that life up? What if I can’t stop being a soldier?”
“How long do you have left on this tour?” Olivia asked as she pushed her plate far enough away to signal she was done.
“Five months after I’m cleared by maybe six hundred doctors.” Cage tried to put some humor in the situation. “Just so you know, if anyone threatens you I’ll probably kill them.”
“And if anyone threatens you I’ll do the same.” Olivia answered.
“Aren’t we the pair?” Cage asked without needing an answer.
“My mother’s going to kill me you know. I’m bringing a white woman home.”
“I’m all damned Black Irish, she’ll love me. And to get her to love me more, teach me your ways.”
“I’m more Comanche than Cherokee.” Olivia warned.
“I don’t care.” Cage answered quietly. “I want to know your ways so that your mother doesn’t take my hair in a fit of anger.”
Olivia chuckled. “I think you and my mother would be an even match.” She was about to fall silent but then her right hand shook slightly and her head began to ache. “Cage.” She whispered.
Cage turned and recognized the signs. She took Olivia in her arms and softly led her to the guest bedroom. As Olivia fought her ancient one’s Cage eased her way by lighting more bundled sage.
Olivia opened her eyes and once again they were cold steel. “They come soon Gaisoschich. Get behind them and eat your fear.”
“Granda, I love, but let her go.” Cage swallowed. “Don’t use her again.”
“I use as you need me too.” The voice rasped back.
“Not her old man. Leave her be, grant her peace.” Cage insisted.
Olivia’s eyes stayed the same color even though she was somewhere else. “I come as you call me.”
“As clan Laird I give you the order to leave her.” Cage insisted harshly. She was tired of seeing Olivia suffer. “My word is law.” She rasped. “Please Granda you would not do this to your wife.”
“Is she such to you?” the voice demanded.
“Not yet, perhaps someday. Let her go.”
“I love you Quinn. Keep faith in your abilities. You might need them.” The voice answered.
Olivia stirred under the blankets and tossed them away. She was too hot.
Cage pulled the blankets back up. “You’re cold. Stop fighting me.”
“Not cold.” Olivia answered in her own voice.
Cage tugged the woman into her arms. “You’re back?”
“Yeah I am, I think. Tired though.” Olivia slurred.
“Sleep Olivia Shadow Wolf. I’ll watch over you.” Cage promised as she let out a slow relieved breath.
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