Uncalled For Actions (10/?)
Days 64 – 70 of the experiment.
“This one time my f-” Gil started to say but snapped his jaw shut at the same moment Tarvek said, “what would you know about it? You don’t even have any parents.”
“Tarvek!” Anevka said with a gasp then smacked his arm.
Gil only blinked back, the fog in his head clearing just enough to realize his near-fatal mistake–had he really been about to name the Baron as his father?
His hand came up to rub at the sore spot on his neck. That damn Smoke Knight, he thought, brow furrowing, what did she do to me?
“What?” Tarvek said, glaring at his sister. “He’s an orphan–everyone already knows that.”
He shot Gil a challenging look–almost as if begging Gil to prove him wrong, and just like that, Gil was eight-years-old, digging through files in the Baron’s vault on a stormy night with the lightning making gruesome shadows in dark corners. They’d thought themselves clever, but they had no idea how that one adventure would change their lives forever.
The story they’d found in his file that night had been a sucker punch to an already broken boy, but Tarvek hadn’t believed a word of it.
It was days or weeks later when Gil finally processed everything that had happened from the moment they concocted their ill-fated and obviously fool-hearty plan to the crushing despair of learning about his supposed embarrassing past to Tarvek being hauled into the office where the Baron had just informed Gil that his best friend was just using him to gather information for his duplicitous family.
Gil didn’t even know what duplicitous meant, but the Baron was mad and Gil was scared so he did the only thing he could–he saved himself at the cost of his friendship with the one person that had ever shown him a smidgen of respect. He’d been so caught up in his own fear that he didn’t hear Tarvek’s hastily whispered reassurances to find the truth.
Tarvek had to have known he was in a lot of trouble but his first instinct was to protect Gil and Gil had-
He swallowed hard, finally meeting Tarvek’s hard eyes across the table.
-he had betrayed him while Tarvek was still trying to protect him.
He quickly looked away, mouth dry because if he had just listened maybe things would have been different.
Then again, maybe not. It was months later when the Baron actually told him the truth about who he was and what his life was going to be about from that point forward. There had never been any room for Tarvek in it no matter who Tarvek thought he was–the Baron would have found a way to get rid of him eventually.
“Tarvek, apologize,” Anevka demanded, giving her brother a shove.
“I thought you were on my side,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest.
Anevka growled under her breath. “You are being rude and callous–apologize this instant or I’ll tell Father about you and Lilliana-”
“Shut up,” he said hastily, bringing Seffie’s attention to the conversation.
“Ooh,” she said, leaning forward, “who’s Lilliana? Wait, isn’t that the maid at Uncle Rutger’s summer place?”
Gil looked between the three of them as Seffie practically drooled with the scandal brewing. This was so messed up and his head felt like it was melting and his neck hurt and he just wanted to eat some food that actually tasted like food and get some sleep.
“It’s been a long day,” he said suddenly, louder than he’d intended.
“It has,” Tarvek said, slumping uncharacteristically in his chair.
A moment later, the speech thankfully ended and the chime sounded the beginning of dessert which happened to be cake but Gil had no appetite if he even could taste the chocolate. He just needed to make it through this and coffee and probably idle chit-chat with people he cared nothing about to look good for his father and then maybe he could get some rest before he had to do it all again.
“Is this torture ever going to end?” Gil frowned, his heart suddenly racing and the room swimming just a little more. “Did I just say that out loud?” he asked, voice shaky. “Did I just say that out loud?”
He tried to focus his eyes on Tarvek, but all he could see were glimmers of red and purple no matter how hard he blinked.
“Holzfäller,” Tarvek said, sounding miles away, “what is wrong with you?”
“Are you ill?” asked Seffie except she sounded like she was screaming inside Gil’s head.
He started, scrambling away and knocking into the person sitting on his other side.
“Really, Gil, you don’t look well,” added Anevka–her voice sounded normal if a little wobbly. “You know, there’s some contagion going around the castle; maybe you should see Dr. Edelweiss.”
“Yes,” Gil shouted then bit his tongue, “no, I mean, no doctor, I’m fine, I’ve been inoculated, no clucking for me, I swear, I-” The words tumbled out of his mouth unfiltered as he tried to collect his thoughts that bounced everywhere and seemed to float off into the ether. Something was definitely wrong with him and he knew what.
“No, I don’t.”
“Don’t what?” asked Seffie, brow furrowed as she inched farther away from him.
“You could be contagious,” whispered Avenka.
“Not contagious, not sick, just-” Just what? Something, something, something, what is it? He tore at his hair trying to remember something important as he was sure his brain was melting and dribbling out of his ears. “That can’t be healthy,” he mumbled, touching his ears and finding nothing amiss, but there was a sharp sting to his jaw as his hand slid down his neck. “Wait!”
[ Part 11 ]