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Luna: Enter your name.
The fox-woman watches you fill out the form. It takes you longer than you think, if only to navigate the florid design and the ludicrous gothic font.
Your specie is Lepus sapiens luna. Writing "moon rabbit" on official paperwork always felt like you were trying to be cute. The entry for your talent has no check box labeled "I wish to keep my talent discreet." In your neatest print you write Warlockry. "Name" is a single uninterrupted line, left mostly empty as you you write in your oath-name, Luna.
Your pen abruptly runs out of ink once you try to check the "F" for your gender. You ask for another pen, which fails at the task once more. By the time you test the five different failed pens on scrach paper, finding them all to write normally there, a "?" box has appeared next to "F." It accepts a check mark quite readily.
The fox looks you in the eye and gives you an exhausted smile. "Sorry," she says, eyes darting to the cat-child. "Mother has a, uh, morbid sense of humor."
"I can tell." You hand her the paperwork, which she sheepishly turns to file in a rusty filing cabinet. You pass the time by rapping your fingers against the counter and glaring at the picture of you.
You don't appear in the photocopy so much as loom out of the darkness like a ghost, a faded emptiness in a sea of ink. Your features are indistinct gray suggestions, your race only given away by the ears jutting from your head. You are reminded of the image of the saint on the shroud of Turin.
It's not an unfair representation, you suppose. Like most moon rabbits you're tall, around six feet, and slightly-built, with ghostly silver hair worn as long as you can keep comfortable in the gravity and wind of Earth. Your eyes are drops of fresh blood. In the moonlight, you glow, sweet and bright, much to your disdain, and in the darkness, your eyes are glowing rubies.
The fox-woman turns to you again. "Right, you're all signed up." She sets a key on the counter and slides it over to you. You palm the key and slide it into your pocket. "Welcome to the Land of Enchantment, and, uh. Please don't take that too seriously. Mother just likes to be... annoying."
You nod. "Thank you." You head to a map of the first floor near the left door leading to the first floor apartments. There's an elevator in the center, just on the other side. Convenient--your room is on the seventh floor, and you're not in the mood to haul your luggage all the way up. Only now does the faint odor of mothballs reach your nose, emanating from the wallpaper.
"Miss!" the cat-child says. You turn and see she's waving at you. "Tewi says that you're her cousin?"
"Yeah!" the rabbit-child says, now on her back and looking quite pleased with herself. "Totally. She knows my sister. They went to high school together. She's cool, right?"
"I guess," the cat says.
"Don't guess," Tewi says, "she totally is or she wouldn't be an Inaba."
"Okay, okay. She's cool."
"That's better, Chen." She sits up gives the cat a condescending pat on her hat. Chen mewls at the Earth rabbit. Tewi sticks her tongue out at Chen.
"Please play nice, you two," Ran says.
"Yes, mom!" Chen says.
"Sure, I will," Tewi says, sighing with the effort. "Seeya, cuz."
You wave at her. "Bye, cuz." You have never seen her before. You may have met her cousin, but nine out of ten moon rabbits emigrating to Earth take the last name "Inaba." She could be literally any other female moon rabbit you've met.
The elevator is smaller than it should be, and one of its two bulbs is broken. You fight the urge to take your medicine here. Not enough time. Too shaky, at that. Last thing you need to do is drop anything.
The seventh floor welcomes you with the scent of tea and a warm gust of air. The heater on this floor must be better than on the first--or the air conditioning worse at keeping out the encroaching summer. It's not that late and not that warm outside, so you cross your fingers and hope. The smell of tea grows stronger as you approach your room, no. 714. There is a woman leaning against the wall opposite your door. She wears a wan smile and a modest dress, a tangle of gently-pulsing arteries emerging from her clothes and cradling a third eye against her breast. She is carrying a shiny tray which is definitely not silver, but which bears a teapot emitting steam from its spout, a single porcelain cup, a slice of lemon and a few cubes of sugar.
"Welcome, neighbor," she says, quietly.
You nod at her, and then at her tea.
"Go ahead. It's just for you."
You pour yourself a cup and empty it in one long, needy sip, immediately pouring out a second and spritzing it with lemon. It's been too long since you've had tea. You suddenly realize how much you've missed it. You'll need to get some when you finally get around to buying groceries.
"Might I get your name?" the purple-haired woman says.
"Luna," you say. "This is good, by the way. Very good. Thank you." You find yourself readying a third cup.
"Welcome kindly." She curtseys best as she can with both hands full. "Not a lot of people moving in to lucky number seven. I've made it my goal to welcome everyone in personally."
"It's nice of you." You set the cup back on the tray. "Ah. Don't mind me, but I'm--" You point at the door, at your luggage. "Setting up. Yeah."
"I don't see a mattress with you..." the woman says.
"Don't need one."
"The bed frame doesn't come with a mattress."
"Sanitation reasons. And budget, I'd imagine. There is a refrigerator, and I made sure it would be clean for you, but I never got word back about your stove. So tread lightly there. If you need something cooked or brewed you can borrow mine."
"Noted." You unlock your door. "Didn't get your name..."
"Satori." She curtseys again, with a short bow of her head as emphasis. "I'm room 701. Don't hesitate to knock."
"If I need to, I will." You grab your luggage and head in to your new home.
Your new home smells of Pine-Sol and stale air. It's a few degrees cooler in here than the hall, for reasons you can now only begin to guess. The bare bulb in the living room casts a cold, dim light on faint impressions in the carpet where a sofa and chairs used to be. The kitchen a few paces away has an ancient, enormous refrigerator and a prim little oven. A door leads to the single bedroom, which has a single queen-sized bed frame tucked in the corner, with no mattress and no headboard. The bathroom is through a door to the right. Praise Mormo, the bathroom is clean. Acceptably clean, if not sparkling.
You lay out your sleeping bag--you had a feeling you'd need it--in the living room. First things first. You unzip your luggage and pull free a few items: a quart of distilled water, your hormone pills, your Bic, and a repurposed car first-aid kit. You fetch a small rubber balloon and set it next to the kit--your medicine.
It's just about time to take your hormones, and so you do. You have never missed a pill. You've had hungry weeks, but you have never had no-hormone weeks.
The rest of your medicine takes some time and effort to prepare. In the doing you think about Mima.
"Hell of a thing, huh?" she said. Her first words to you. You were in the woods outside your house, near a little lake. Your lake. You were there because it had been a day you desperately wanted to forget. Your eyes were puffy, your face flushed; it was an easy question to ask. You said yeah, it was a hell of a thing.
"No," she'd said. "You chose the Earth over the moon. Gravity and pressure and song. You chose being a woman over being caught in between male and female. You had a choice between inaction and action, and judging by those knuckles you're not a big fan of inaction." She was terribly overdressed. You had never seen a magic-user dressed up like that outside of formal occasions. Her skirt was grass-stained and flecked with damp leaves. "And you've kept trying to figure out what your talent is. Am I right?"
You said yes.
"You've never taken the easy way. You've only taken the ones that felt right for you. You keep hearing that you're a false positive for talent, yeah?"
"Well, kid, good news." She sat next to you. "I can smell talent on you. It's just not something you can test for in a lab. You need the right, ah, circumstances for it."
That day, it felt like you had absolutely nothing to lose. So you said, "Show me."
She'd laughed. "Alright. Take my hand. Quick question--did you have lunch?"
Within the hour you were choking down the hot, bitter brains of a blonde-haired witch who looked half your age. You were fourteen then. She stared at you, even in death. You remember those pale green eyes as you tap the needle, watching the bubbles float to the top. Careful now. Almost there.
You incinerated the witch's remains with blinding strobes of light. The first time you had ever used magic. It felt like being alive. It was easy, all too easy, to sweep everything else aside. "All I'm saying is," Mima said, "I had a pest problem, and you had a bad day. This moment was preordained. We're joined at the hip, spiritually. You know?"
"What are you?" you'd said.
"I'm an evil spirit," Mima said. "And we're walking the left-handed path together."
You tie off your arm.
You remember Mima's last words for you. The day before, you'd left home. You took your things to Mima's place first, to say goodbye, and she insisted you stay the night.
Her last words to you. The last words you would ever hear her say.
"You are a walking revolution, Luna. They aren't gonna know what to do with you."
You pull back the plunger. The sun rises in your needle, red and hazy. You hold your breath and inject it all. Not ten seconds later the heroin hits your brain. You prepared a dose half the size of your usual. Wise. In this place, in this state of mind, you may as well have a virgin's veins, and you are on the floor, crawling onto your sleeping bag, and the pain goes away.
Far too soon, someone knocks on the door. "Yoo-hoo~" a far-too-happy voice says.
[ ] Let them in.
[ ] Keep quiet.
[ ] Tell them to come back later.
[ ] Propose an action (or vote for a proposed action).