2nd Prize: Gossip Girl

For @therealbrigeedarocks! I was asked to do a story set in her FFH universe, which honestly was a lot of fun (I sure hope I got my facts right o: ). Hope you like it!

( FFH on DA ) ( @askfarfromhome )

Tapered, elegant fingers brushed across the black and white keys. Expert hands moved with the rhythm and she swayed in time, her own metronome. When she closed her eyes, she could imagine it, a concert hall with nothing on the stage but her and the piano. She’d played nothing but sold out shows for years.

When she opened her eyes again, vertical bars of clean, dull metal greeted her on the other side of the plain piano. The notes she played became more percussive as the melody crescendoed. It was her attack on the house-sized cage around her, the only weapon she had.

A voice in the hall caught her attention and the song faltered away. Mindy turned on the bench to watch as, on the other side of the living room, the flat’s door opened to admit a giant twelve times her size.

She’d be lying if she said the sight didn’t startle her anymore, someone so huge carrying bags of groceries that would outweigh an apartment building. It didn’t have the heartstopping panic effect on her, at least. Her life was in Tergaia now, and in Tergaia, humans like her were small.

The giant across the room grinned as he nudged the door closed with a foot. “Heya, Mindy,” he greeted. “Just one sec.”

He carried those enormous, frighteningly heavy bags through an archway near the door. Mindy heard a clatter as they settled on a counter, and then a curse as something loud rolled along the surface. She didn’t bother to hide her smirk as he reappeared in the doorway.

“Having trouble again, Al?” she teased, even as the giant strode around the sofa towards the table where her cage waited. One hand big enough to completely hide her in a fist (this she knew well) left his side and approached the latch on the door. Her gaze flickered to it, but she stood from the piano bench and tilted her head back to his face. Alban, despite how tall and loud he was, wasn’t as scary of an owner as he could be.

It wasn’t his fault she was in a world too big for her. It wasn’t his fault the landlord insisted any humans be kept locked up when tenants were away.

“Har-de-godsdamn-har,” he snipped back with a roll of his eyes. He undid the lock on the cage, and Mindy was already on her way around her own furniture towards the door. She paused halfway when his hand reached into the cage. Huge fingers, thick and unlike hers in as many ways as anyone could imagine, coiled gently around her back. She leaned back like it was a trust fall, letting his hand become a moving seat to convey her out of the cage once more.

“How was work?” she asked. While he turned to make his way back to the kitchen, she situated herself more comfortably on his palm. She did not want to fall all the way to the floor, carpeted or not.

“Boss left sick, so guess who had ta mind the shop an’ the desk?” Alban groused. Mindy tutted sympathetically, and he paused in the kitchen doorway. “I did hear a bit a’ interestin’ news.”

Mindy tilted her head back and fixed his smug look with an expectant one of her own. “Gonna make me guess?”

He smirked. “Word is that Colm Arcadi got himself a human. Rides around on his shoulder an’ everythin’. Can you imagine that, a celebrity human?”

Mindy’s smile didn’t falter, but her eyes became glassy. That concert hall returned to her mind’s eye. Without even realizing it, she clenched her fists as they rested idly on a giant palm. “Oh, it’s about time, isn’t it?” she answered. The bitterness in her voice, she hoped, was faint enough that he didn’t notice. “What would you do without us, after all?”

She was lucky. He let her down on the counter near the grocery bags and went right on with the gossip from the day. “I dunno the answer to that, but I do know it’s all they were talkin’ about in the supply shop today. Everyone only found out a few days ago when he came back through the gate. I dinna even know he was out of town.”

Mindy found a short tea tin to sit on while he put away the groceries. Her legs swung back and forth and she eyed every heavy item he drew out of those towering bags. “She must be freaked out,” she mused. Her own first days in Tergaia, spent wandering someone’s backyard in confused terror, had felt like they lasted a lifetime.

This new human at least seemed to be getting along better than she did. She must not be afraid of heights.

“Aye, ya think?” Alban snickered. “Ridin’ around on the shoulder a the most powerful man in Fathach? Maybe they’ll start a trend.”

Mindy wasn’t ready for his hand to suddenly come her way. Despite herself, she stiffened, but it didn’t stop his grasp from solidifying around her suddenly. The pressure settled all around her with her head and shoulders free, and she lifted from her seat.

She was mostly used to being grabbed without warning, but still she tensed and prayed he wouldn’t drop her. She ducked her head as he ferried her up, up, and only opened her eyes when he set her down.

On his own shoulder.

“A-Alban?!” She stammered, scooting to his collar where she could cling pale-knuckled to it. To either side, the ground stretched far away, and everything swayed in time with him.

“Whatcha think, lass?”

“I-I don’t like it,” she admitted. “Please put me back.”

His hand was back as quickly as before. She didn’t even mind the speedy lowering back to the counter, but stumbled when she was on solid ground. “Sorry, Mindy,” he said. He really sounded remorseful.

She brushed her hair back and offered a shaky smirk. “Don’t let it happen again.”

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