Timeline: April 20th, 2008
It had been two weeks since Grace had fallen and as per her request John had kept her body safe and away from sunlight. He had given her blood, a lot at first it seemed to make her wounds disappear. John kept it up until it seemed like she wasn’t using it as fast. For the last week he had been giving her a direct transfer of his own blood, (ooc about one lethal a night in blood loss), with his rate of healing he could keep it up indefinitely and he liked the idea of Grace being full of good Beckett blood again. As he had done every night for the past week, he was reading a book as his blood drained away into her body. She was supposed to wake up soon he thought but it really didn’t matter he would keep this up for as long as it took.
As he was reading his book, his eyes grew heavy and then shut, the book falling from his fingers, maybe it was all the work he had been doing at the park or maybe it was the blood loss and all the long nights but John fell asleep and was soon lost in dreamland.
His bear was broken. His arm had been torn by Oxford, the family Labrador. Running across the Iowa field Johnny saw his sister on the tire swing at the old oak.
“What is is Johnny?” she asked.
“Oxford hurt him. Can you make him better?”
Grace smiled and said to her little brother, “Let’s get mamma’s sewing kit and ready our tree house for surgery Johnny.” Johnny was pleased, Grace always wanted to be a doctor, so would he. She turned and looked back at him. “Johnny,” she said, “I’m awake…wake up. Wake up, is everyone okay? Wake up little brother…”
John was still alittle muzzy when he replied in a very young voice, “No, Grace, bear is hurted we dotta fic him. I think he might need an applen-dec-to-me too.” John blinked his eyes, slowly coming back to full conciousness. “Can you fix him Grace?”he finished with a shy smile as he came fully awake.
“I still have the sewing kit mom gave me,” she said with a smile knowingly. Her memory was perfect and the sounds of her little brother and his bear were set deep in her thoughts. She was already changed and showered. She must have been up for awhile, letting her brother sleep. “Though I believe you are the one who finished medical school, not me.”
She paused, “How is everyone?” She voice was set with concern.
“Everyone has recovered nicely. Technically you were the last one still in bed. The were-rat menace has been driven back, some escaped and the two townspeople were let go, all of which means they may be back but not for a while.
“Jesse and Ironclaw have been asking after you, I told them not to worry but I think seeing you up and around again will do more than all my reassurance. I was going to have a party, ok to be honest I was going to have a wake, with all our friends around for when you woke up but but I wasn’t sure what you would want and we didn’t talk about it so I went for just family this time.
“I put up a couple doors in the basement of the house you were in more to keep the sewer smell out than to keep anything from getting in. With dirt walls there’s not much I can do and I didn’t want to put more money into it before I knew what you wanted to do.” As he was talking John took the tube out of his arm and then put a band-aid on it. So how do you feel?
“Feel? Well, I suppose I feel fine. Like I always do.” Her pallor brightened and it seemed as if her face enlivened itself. “I wasn’t sure how long I would sleep, but it was similar to the last time this happened in 1967. Not a pleasant experience, to suffer oblivion. You were right to wait for me to awaken privately. I appreciate it. I really don’t want others to understand too much about the Kindred condition. Not that I don’t trust them, it’s just old habit. And it’s a good one.”
“Are you sure you’re okay Grace? You seem a little… distant,” John said concern evident in his voice.
“I’m not sure. Do I? I suppose I might seem that way. It’s just that existence seems unreal at the moment, like a waking dream used to be like; at least how I remember it. I think I need a change. I believe, yes that is the answer.”
“Do you want me to tell our friends you’re awake and kicking or do you want to spring on them yourself?”
“Awake and kicking? I suppose that is more accurate than ‘alive and kicking’. But, yes, please tell them, but don’t make a big deal out of it. For now however, I’m a bit hungry. I noticed you gave me your own blood. You didn’t have to do that Johnny,” she kisses him on the forehead, “but it is appreciated.” She paused, “Can you help me something first?”
“Sure I can help you out. Sorry you are hungry, I tried normal whole blood but it seemed like you took a lot for little effect. So this last week I have been giving you my own blood. You seem to do better when I gave you a direct transfusion and giving you a refill on good Beckett blood seemed like a good idea and that way I didn’t have to ask anyone to help or divluge where you were. What do you need Grace?” The love and family bond was almost visible in John’s eyes as he looked at his sister.
“I love you Johnny,” she had joy in her face like a little girl, “This may sound weird, but I want to gather all my clothes, except for a few particular items (like my coat), and bag them up and burn them in sacrifice to the Morrigan. I don’t have much anyway, but I want to have a fresh start, perhaps going forward or perhaps going back, but I want to leave my old look behind for awhile. Become the artist I want to be and look the part as well. It’s new and it’s going to be fun. I’ll still be the same me I suppose, but now with the look of the twenty-ish niece you tell everyone you have.”
She looked at her little brother, “As I said, sounds weird eh?”
“Hmmm. I can help with that, but how about a counter proposal? We tell the others what you plan on doing then we gather up the things you want do part with, sym1bolically burn one or two and give the rest to local shelter or go to Concord and give them to a Good Will store? That way we invite others to join you in changing the direction of your life and help the needy, if we go to Concord we can also do some shopping for your new wardrobe. Or is it a religious thing that you need to burn it all?”
“It was just a thought, a way to embrace change and the chances the goddess has granted me. I don’t want to turn it into an enterprise, nor do I want anyone else to know. Giving them away isn’t a sacrifice, it’s charity. Being charitable IS my first instinct, so I must fight it so it’s a worthy sacrifice. But, I have another idea as well; more traditional, so you needn’t worry about it.” she said, seemingly dismissing the original idea.
“Johnny,” she continued, “I don’t need others to help me with my life that I do not invite to do so. They could never understand in the first place, and to be honest I am content with it. I just need, from time to time a radical shift. I’ve been living this general look for quite awhile now, and I need to change it. Then again, men rarely get that.”
“Grace, I will help you do what ever you need to do. If you want to burn it all then we will have a bonfire and if you don’t want company I am cool with that too. I was just trying to give you options and I guess trying to pull you into my circle of friends more or pull us all together more. I don’t want to force anything on you or make you do something you don’t want to, I just want you to be happy.
“I understand cabin fever Grace, you just have skin fever I guess, you need a change of face not place.” He smiled knowing that he probably didn’t get it, but at least he was trying to bridge the gender gap.
“I know you want me to be friends with your friends, become part of the large extended family. I have, to a degree done a little of that, but I can’t force myself on them. What I can do is live my life here for now, make friends where I can, and keep my secrets my own. I need a bit of privacy, for my safety and that of my friends. That is why I was so appreciative of you NOT having the others here when I awoke. As far as change, well if it doesn’t harm anyone, I plan to do as I will. I always have.
“I know you have. Believe me I know you have.” He rolled his eyes and then started to laugh.
“Go get something to eat and I will go tell Jesse that you will see her at the house this later this evening.” The laughter still evident in his voice.
“Good,” she smiled with a light laugh, “In the mean time, I’ll head out and get ‘take out’. If I’m lucky, Ironclaw will be out and about.”
“Were you still thinking of building the ‘Beckett Home for the extraordinarily aged but not looking it’?”
“I do think I look pretty good for my age. Thanks for the compliment, Grace,” John said with a straight face. “Why were you thinking of joining me if I did?”
“Perhaps. It would be safer than where I am for certain. Also, it would help with my alternate identity as your niece. The problem is I really don’t need a safe place for myself, just somewhere private to work, meet with friends and my sisters, someplace for my few things, and a place for Jesse my, well I guess she would properly be my aide or valet. Perhaps both.”
“How would you feel about an earth home?” John asked.
Ann-Marie thought to herself that was funny, a little ironic too. “Like a hobbit hole?”
“Sort of I guess, except taller. They’re more enviromentally friendly and have less an impact on the land. I saw a lot of them out in South Dakota.”
“That I suppose would be up to you,” she replied, “I myself like sweeping vistas. Would it still have windows?”
“Yes it would still have windows, think of a ranch style house buried in a hill side with the south facing wall exposed. It would run about $300,000 for 3300 square feet. One of the advantages would be that bedrooms could be without windows buried in the hill side. Another plus is that they are low maintenance and fuel efficient.”
“I’ve been a nomad so long, it’s difficult to conceive of ‘settling down’ somewhere. But so far, I believe I’ve been welcomed in the community, even by those who know my background (which is too many). I came here for privacy away from my kind and to get to know the wild the goddess created, but be close enough to assist my sisters and brothers when needed. Little did I know that my fellow townfolk need assistance often as well.”
“I’ll think a bit on the house, but my initial thought would be yes. Again as long as I can have privacy. I’d likely need three rooms: a bedroom, a studio, and perhaps a sanctum of some kind. Plus a room for Jesse. Would this be possible?”
“I was thinking of a house arranged like an L we would each have our own wing but they would meet at one end where the Kitchen, dinning and recreation rooms would be. Common entrance at the join but private decks on the end of each wing with house access so we would each have private entrances. Joint access to the garage/stables through the common area.”
“It could work. I don’t have much, but I could throw in what I have. In the future, assuming things go well financially I can help more. Perhaps we can get together and work up some plans. Sound good?”
“That works for me”, John said,” Now go catch something to eat, and I will spread the word that you are mobile.”
“Sounds good!” she said, leaving through the door.