sugar ruffles

For @viper-seven: further adventures of kitten-shapeshifter Seb and white witch Chris, who has just run into a neighbor’s burning house to rescue people…

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Chris stumbles down the sidewalk. His arms burn; his lungs burn, shredded by smoke. The girl’s weight drags at him, and he stumbles, but then they’re out, he can feel heat chasing them close but they’re out, and he sets her down as she squirms.

She runs to her mother. He turns, staggering. The blaze sears his eyes; he shuts them, searching with other senses. His own magic’s long depleted; he’s wrapped in the comforting rippling shields of Sebastian’s power, which invisibly wreathes his body, runs up and down his arms, tastes like blue spun sugar, and ruffles like kitten-fur velvet, keeping him safe. He borrows some of that power to fling out into every crevice of the house: hunting for scraps of life, kids or grandmothers or pets he’s missed.

He’s aware that he’s been leaning on Sebastian too long. His kitten doesn’t draw back—it’s not a telepathic link, though sometimes emotions bleed along the channel—but pushes more strength his way, willingly offered, wide open, giving. Keeping smoke damage at bay. Healing minor burns and nicks from stumbling through flame.

The house is empty, he thinks, and he turns back toward the sidewalk; he staggers as the roof falls in, as the conflagration roars. The mother runs to him, thanking him; he manages to answer, blurry with exhaustion.

More exhaustion than he should be feeling. He’s okay, physically. Sebastian made sure of that. Sebastian—

He can’t feel Sebastian.

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