Past, Present, and Future Perfect

Tales of Jaycynda Ashleana and her associates.

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Jaycy Ashleana
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Past, Present, and Future Perfect

Post by Jaycy Ashleana » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:48 pm

July 12

A year. Or nearly so. Pslyder had moments where he looked back on life before Serena ... a life when a shrieking toddler didn't wake him at all hours of the night, when time was his own ... and he just shook his head. Time marches on, and when he looked at the face of his daughter ... his daughter ... it was worth it. Moments like this, when the little monster was napping, he could look over at his lovely wife and smile.

The smile was returned from the woman ensconced in her favorite overstuffed reading chair. A portable playpen (affectionately known as ‘the cage’) had been settled into the office so Jaycy could enjoy the monster’s quiet time with a book and a cozy seat rather than being surrounded by toys and powder smells. Bare feet remained hidden, tucked under her legs, and a slim volume rested open on her lap.

“Heyas, handsome, come here often?” The quip was quiet and smile quirking toward a subtle grin at her husband’s appearance in her vision. Her voice remained soft enough to allow the respite from Serena’s baby-rampages to continue while still holding enough volume to carry to Psly’s keen ears.

"Every chance I get." Holding two mugs of the tea, he used every sneak-thief trick at his disposal to make a quiet trip across the study, setting the mug down with a faint click. "How else would I see my two favorite ladies?"

Psly had a chair nearby, and walked over to sit in it as he chuckled. "What are you reading?"

The smile softened as she canted her head in thanks for the kind gesture of the tea. She waited until he sat to answer his question, mutely grasping both edges of the book and lifting the spine of the leather-bound volume for him to see. “Do you know how much she loves Peter Pan?” The lightly amused upturn of her lips made its reappearance as she settled it once more in her lap. “Though to be fair, I love it almost as much. Pirates? Never having to grow up? Sometimes that sounds lovely.”

A small hand extended to grasp the mug’s handle and draw it closer, blowing lightly before taking a small sip. “Mmm, thank you. What have you been up to, love?” Green-gold eyes turned up toward him, head canting lightly in curious-pose, as mug lowered rest lightly on her thigh, held loosely in a dual-handed grip to prevent it from tipping on her or the precious book.

"I didn't, actually. Though, if we're going to be brutally honest ... you've been a pirate, and growing up is entirely optional." Their chairs were within easy reach, and so he did. Stretching his arm across the gap, he gently brushed the back of a finger along her jaw.

"Haven't been up to much. Checking in on the business, ordering deliveries for the house, making sure the three of us aren't starving." Psly winked, relaxing into the cup of the chair. "Thinking about how mystifying fatherhood is. All this time, I thought I'd be like my father ... but it doesn't feel the same."

The derisive scoff was subdued, tempered by the light caress, and she leaned into it, turning her face at the end of his touch to press a featherlight kiss to his finger. A digit of her own came up a moment later, to lightly sweep across his before curling around it, movement easing into seeking to twine fingers around for a brief moment before returning to the tea. “Sh, don’t say I’m a pirate in front of her. Then she might get all these crazy ideas about doing it herself someday, when you and I both know she’s going to be locked in a tower as soon as she can walk and talk on her own.” Eyes twinkled at the teasing retort, aiming to make him smile lest he get too seriously reflective on his life as a parent.

She did address it, however. “Love, you’ll never be like your father… it’s impossible. There is such a different set of life circumstances that it would never happen. You are and have always been your own man. Besides. She has you wrapped quite securely around her tiny finger. She’s lucky you let her sleep in another room. And I bet you’d say it felt … perfect.” Her nose wrinkled and she tossed him a playful wink.

"Don't tempt me ... she starts worrying about monsters under her bed, I'll sleep there." Taking a sip, he grinned again. "Okay. I won't mention piracy, if you don't mention corporate sneak-thief, and we'll both keep quiet on the idea of pit-fighting in the Duels. Deal?"

Then he nodded. "You're right. I'm utterly clueless on how to be a father, still muddling around on how to be a husband ... and I've never been happier in my life."

“You think about sleeping in there with her and I’m going to throw her overboard one day when you’re not looking,” she hmphed. “I just got you back to myself at night - speaking of muddling around on how to be a husband - and I’m going to selfishly keep you as long as I can.” Another hmph followed, but there lacked any true bite to her bark. The child, their daughter, had Jaycy as firmly smitten as she did Psly. “Part of the fun of parenting - and life - is figuring it out, sometimes.” And that made up for all the nights where Serena - Bella, they called her - was inconsolable.

She mirrored his motion with another sip of her own, brows knitting lightly as she grew ponderous. “Do you miss the duels, Psly? Or more specifically, the people, and the atmosphere?” A pause and she set the mug on the table before closing the book and sliding it down the arm of her chair into the space between it and the seat’s cushion. “Not the fighting itself, I mean.” A subtle shift so she could face him more directly, she reached forward a hand to seek his more securely. “Have you gone back since Bella came?”
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Post by Jaycy Ashleana » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:54 pm

"Not even once. And as for missing people ... yeah, there's one or two I wouldn't mind going back and having a chat with." Linking his fingers with hers, he smiled as he brushed his thumb over her knuckles.

"And that's all easy for you to say, love. This isn't your first rodeo. So you'd better tell me if I'm jacking something up, so I can fix it in time." His eyes drifted over to the 'cage', and the smile returned, unbidden, to his face.

"Just keep looking at her like that, for the rest of our lives, and you won't be 'jacking' anything up." The pleasure in his expression brought an answering glow to her own face as she took in his enraptured gaze. She loved watching Bella, looking at the wee girl, but seeing the love shining from Psly was even more precious to her.

Jaycy allowed the silence to linger for several moments before bringing him back to the immediate topic at hand. “Do you want to go? Out, I mean? To see if there’s anyone to say hi to?” Because of course it made sense to go out and see if people were around instead of calling them and finding out if they were available. Even after all this time living with Psly and among technology, the redhead tended to forget about such devices and abilities.

"Suppose we could ... wouldn't hurt to get out of the house for a little while. Just don't know what little Bella would think of that. I remember, the Inn can get rowdy at a moment's notice. And the Arena's even worse." The notion put a thoughtful look on Psly's face.

"Honestly, I'd like to see Bella at least walking before we try to show her the Inn and the Duels." Bringing up her hand, he kissed her fingers, briefly wondering just where he'd put those danged knives he used to use. They were around somewhere, he knew.

“I have to be honest, love, in ways she’ll need to be in rowdy places as she grows up, to get used to them. We would be doing her a disservice to not make her see or try or do things that might be out of her comfort zone.” Of course the parent could say this - do as I say, not as I do, right? Jaycy at least the grace to flush slightly while she was making her recommendation. She knew that lately she tended to stay well within a certain comfort zone. She still hadn’t touched a sword since that night, except mayhaps once at challenge when she had to. She couldn’t remember for sure, though, if she had at all. When she dueled - and the last time had been in January - she used a staff. Knives, too, were suspect, though she grudgingly kept a trio (or sometimes more) secreted.

“I don’t think she’s too far from fulfilling that, love,” she commented, brushing fingertips over his lips after the kiss. “She’s already crawling, and that means walking isn’t exactly far behind.” She exhaled a soft chuckle. “Babies - children - grow and do things so quickly. Blink and you miss it.”

"That's why I keep watch so often. I don't want to miss ... anything." Crawling, babbling, laughing, crying, screaming ... it didn't matter what Bella did, he loved it all.

"And I agree ... better to give her a heads up now, rather than shock her with them later on ... " Inwardly, he cringed. What was she going to be like when she got old enough to ride?

It didn’t take a soul-link or even a mind reader to know what he just thought of - some horrible craziness that their daughter was likely to get into, something that would likely terrify his dreams for years until it became hellish reality. “Do I even want to know where your mind just went?” Laughter bubbled with the question and her eyes went to sparkling again with amusement at his fright.

"Trying to keep up with her when she learns how to ride ... spirits above, I'm going to have to build her something special ... something to ... I dunno. Something like a two-wheeled tank, maybe?" He laughed, quietly as possible, knowing that nothing would be up to his standards of 'safety' when it came to his daughter.

A brow lifted and so did the corners of her lips in a sardonic, almost evil grin. “What are you going to do, my dear Pslyder, if she ever starts flying?”

"Oh … drek ... you would have to remind me about that possibility, wouldn't you? Brat ... " Squeezing her hand, he picked up his mug for a drink, attention shifting to the 'cage' as Bella murmured in her sleep.

The grin widened and she let loose the smallest of snickers. “If I were anything but a brat - or anything but someone who would point out things you needed to remember even if you didn’t want to - would you have, in the end, married me?” Inescapable logic in her mind, but mayhaps she didn’t think about the possible answers he could give to that question.

“Like I said, we just need to lock her into a tower as soon as she’s mobile and vocal enough to cause us worry.” The grin didn’t fade too much as she reclaimed her hand to take up her mug and, in unconscious echo again, took another drink. “We at least have a while before we have to worry about her flying, I think. I haven’t seen any signs yet that she can or has any emergent subconscious ability to shift into anything else. She’s just a normal baby.” So far.

“Speaking of …” Oh, she was about to both get into trouble and cause trouble with her next question…

“Are you ready for another one?” A serious question asked in the most casual, mischievous tone, smirk covered by another drink from the mug, this one seeming long as she eyed him over the rim.
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Jaycy Ashleana
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Post by Jaycy Ashleana » Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:00 pm

"No, love. I wouldn't have you any other way." The grin spread across his face, though Psly was still looking at Bella.

"And we can't do that to her, love ... she'd still wind up having a mob around the base of it before she turned eighteen. You think we should start changing some around her, just to see if she's ready for it?" He reached for his mug and took a drink ... just as the last question hit. Hopefully, the resulting coughing fit didn't wake the baby ...

They were both very lucky that his hacking and her barked laughter didn't cause Bella to do more than fuss and squirm before settling again. Though mayhaps part of that was the redhead had already begun some work acclimating the child to random noises. Surely, though, another part of it had to do with the babe’s comfort level - she was at home with her parents, safe and cozy.

Her laughter subsiding shortly after it began, she slowly returned the mug to the table and affected her mildest tone. “Aye, love, I do think beginning to shift around her somewhat soon may be a good idea.” The only hint of remaining devilment was the twitching of her lips and the faintly arched brow.

"Frakkin' hells, petit ... sometimes, your sense of humor delves down into truly wicked." Coughing the last of the tea from that wrong pipe, Psly shook his head and managed a smile, reaching over to take her hand. "Small things, at first? I'm not sure how she'd take us at full size."

“Mm,” she murred in agreement, twining fingers with his and squeezing lightly. “And I think it should be one of us while the other is with her. To help calm her and make sure she doesn’t think we’re monsters.” Well, to be fair, they were monsters. Of a fashion, at least. “At some point we’ll need to discuss flying - to get her used to that, as well.”

Her own gaze drifted down toward the ‘cage’, cheeks flushing gracefully as they softened. “She’s such an angel… when she’s sleeping.” The words were gentle, tender, a vocal caress that washed over the child. “You’re a great father, by the way, Psly,” she turned up to him, gracing him with as loving a smile as she did Bella. “I hope you feel that already.”

"I suppose that I do ... when I'm not terrified of screwing things up." Smiling back, he finished off that aborted mug of tea.

"How's Tanya, by the by?" When he'd heard of the dimensional refugee's assumption of Arlen's former duties, he'd been surprised by how much that seemed to fit. The girl was resourceful, that much was for certain ... and, like them, she had her own demons.

“Never let go of that fear, even though you’re doing wonderfully. Complacency will get you in trouble with children.” A quirked grin briefly lit her face and she tossed him a wink.

“Tanya’s well, in fact. She seems… content?” Her head canted left as she pondered the answer to his question. “She dresses well, she carries herself well, she’s confident in the back room…” She paused, then chuckled, “… and in the other back… room.” Both brows raised. “Be careful, she may just proposition you soon.” Suppressed laughter once more threatened the safety of Bella’s slumber. “I hope she’s happy, at least. We should invite her over soon, mayhap.”

"Is that so?" That certainly surprised him ... "Huh. And yeah, we really should. I'll grill out, even ... something tells me she likes her meat a little more ... well done than we do."

Then he stood, giving her hand another squeeze as he rose, crossing over to look down into the 'cage'. Perfect. One of these days, he'd have to get used to the fact that something he had a hand in making could be so ... perfect. "And maybe I could ask her if there's something there I can handle."

Another chuckle wafted as her gaze followed him in his movement. “Oh? That would be … interesting.” She paused and there was that grin again. “Should I invite her over for a slumber party?”

"That all depends, petit ... are we finding a sitter as well, or ... ?" Turning, he leaned back against the cage, supporting most of his weight on his back leg.

"Guess that's another thing we should discuss. Are we going to hide anything about us from her? She's going to hear the rumors and truths eventually."

“From her being Bella, or Tanya?” Brows now knit and she reached for her mug to take another drink.

"From Bella. If Tanya doesn't know nearly everything about us there is to know by now, then she's not doing her job right." Psly was always going to be the type of person who believed in someone proving their merits on their own.

"But Bella ... it won't be long at all, once we introduce her to the people we know."

“Do we have any reason to hide who we are?” she countered. “I’m not meaning this as an argument, but genuine confusion, love. She’s going to live with us for the next several years, and the older and wiser she gets the harder it would be to hide anything. Do we want to put ourselves through that? What would we have to gain, or what is so terrible about us that we can’t tell her?”

She paused momentarily before finally sighing. “Besides, we don’t know yet but we may not be able to hide some things from her. We joked about her having magic and possibly shifting, but it very possibly could happen. And we should decide now… if she chooses to follow our lives, do we let or even encourage it?”

A glance to the child preceded the redhead pushing herself to her feet as well. “But if you think of something we shouldn’t tell her, I do understand.”
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Jaycy Ashleana
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Post by Jaycy Ashleana » Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:01 pm

"No." The more he thought on it, the stronger his resolve became. "No, I don't think hiding anything from her is going to sit well. Not what we do, not what we are ... "

Gently, he reached down and stroked a fingertip down the curve of Bella's hair. "Not who her kin are, either."

“Indeed,” she concurred. Moving closer, she set a hand on his shoulder. “For better or worse - we all are who we are, and we should and do embrace that, and show her the same pride and love for all of us.”

It was truly a strange situation, to think of who and what he meant when he referenced ‘her kin.’ The kin had always been thought of as dragonfolk and she - nor he, for that matter - had been born dragonfolk. The pair of them had been made; mayhaps made even in the sense of vampires. Dawn Shadowsbane, a sort of daughter, had once accused her of being false-kin, and Jaycy could never deny the truth of her origins.

“Do you have specific people in mind, for her to meet, love? Or specific things you want her to know? How old should she be?”

Made, yes ... and in both cases, by accident and sheer chance. "No specific people, yet ... considering how frakkin' hard it is to get a hold of some of the people we know. Skid. I think, at some point ... she needs to meet Skid. Just so he's ready."

“At least it seems we won’t have a major issue with Dawn.” The mention of Skid of course brought to mind his mate and their one-time nemesis, the aforementioned semi-relative, and the woman who had flayed her arm, causing a patchwork of scars. “Ready for her being our spawn, or ready for the questions she’ll bring to him eventually?”

Chuckling, she turned away to retrieve the leather-bound book and replace it in the hole in the shelf. “Have you ever met their daughter, by the way? I haven’t, but I’ve heard tales of her.”

"Both." The mention of Dawn's name had him rubbing at a particular spot on his left arm ... they both bore marks of their acquaintance with that particular part of the family.

"No. Never have. Maybe in time I'll want to ... but right now, I'd rather let her be." Because, in all honesty, the less he thought about Dawn and her children, the better off he felt.

“Me too,” came the swift and hearty agreement. “And I agree about Skid. I wish we could find Tass and let him know, as well.” In some ways Tass was as close to a grandfather to Bella as anyone could get here in Rhydin, both in spirit and blood. But there was and would always be a minor sore spot between her husband and the old man, she assumed, so she was careful of when she invoked her old friend’s name.

“She’ll be awake soon. Do you want to feed her tonight?” While she still fed the girl at her breast, some milk was spared for late nights when Psly didn’t want to wake his wife to ease Bella’s demands. “And did you want to go out after? I can arrange someone, or we can take her, or we can stay comfortable on the couch and listen to her babble.”

"Tell you what ... you feed her, I'll get something to feed us." Tass' name didn't quite make him surly ... after all, before the transformation, they'd been civil even at the worst of times. It wasn't until ... well, all that was past, and the past wasn't going to change on his say so.

"Then, afterward ... well, maybe we'll see how she does with short hops on dragonback, neh?" It struck him, then, and made him smile. Most fathers he'd ever known could only pretend to take their children flying. Suckers.

“Psly?” In a gesture as old as time, she gave him the look that universally was understood as really?

"Well, I'm not going to call it piggyback, jeez ... Besides, I want to make sure she's tired enough to sleep for a good while tonight." Psly pushed up slowly from the cage, so she could see his smile.

"I may not quite have a handle on if I want more children ... but I do know that I'd like to spend a little private time with my wife. Even quietly, if need be."

“Psly,” she attempted to remain patient even while she tried not to laugh at him, “…. let me get this straight. You want to take your infant daughter, wake her, feed her, and then put her on your back so you can take her flying - wings flapping, bouncing?” The look remained, though mixed with a little bit of impish smirk. “I’ll think I’ll just stay in and read a book after her dinner.”

She could only hope he would understand her concern. If not, he was on his own. Or, well, she might be there to find a way to record the inevitable mess. “I’ll be happy to spend some quality private time with my husband… after his long shower, that is.” That should make her point clear enough. Overkill, even. But he did tell her to warn him when he was about to screw something up.

“Mayhaps I feed her, then we take her outside and let her crawl around and chase your tail a bit?” Oh, aye, she could be wicked sometimes.

"I wasn't going to actually go dragon ... just play around while carrying her on my shoulders ... " He wasn't a total nimrod, after all. Besides, he had a very firm idea for Bella's first flight ... since he couldn't very well carry her in his hands at that point, it was going to take a joint effort on both their parts. And, quite a few years.

“I’ll let you be the judge.” And get puked on, if you take her bouncing after feeding, but hey, let him learn. He received a sweet patronizing smile. “I’ll get started so that you can play with her, love.” There was just a little too much docility in her voice and the way she walked toward the portable crib, leaning in to take up the babe. The unexpected motion set Bella fussing again, this time working to a disgruntled cry.

“Shh, lovey, shh shh.” Lightly bouncing (yes, doing the very thing she mocked Psly for wanting to do) Bella on one arm, she used her free hand to lower the elastic of her long chemise. “C’mon, Bella, time for dinner,” she crooned. Shifting her grip on the baby, she set the now-fully-wailing terror to feed. “There, there,” the redhead murmured, rocking slowly. A soft smile bloomed as she looked up at him. “We’ll be there soon,” she assured him. “Unless you want to stay here. You are welcome.”

"Won't take me long. And thank you." Sometimes, you just have to let someone learn the hard way ... though, he really didn't see any problems with walking around making swooshy noises. Of course, years ago, he didn't see anything wrong with sneaking into buildings accessorized with enough armed guards to form small militia, either.

He's just special that way.

Bending down to kiss her cheek, Psly smiled and slipped out the door. By his estimation, he had just enough time to do what needed doing and clean himself up before playing with Bella in the yard.

((Adapted from live play - thank you Psly! <3 ))
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