I didn’t know how responsible I would feel for Rachel once she was bound to me. I mean, I know she can feed herself, take care of herself, all that stuff, but somehow I feel responsible for her.
After the new visitors left, we talked for a while. I think she is very confused about my motives, and I don’t blame her. She said outright that she didn’t trust me, and I don’t blame her. I told her why I’d done what I did, and she asked me why I hadn’t just talked to her about the whole true name thing, protesting her ignorance of how Fae names are used.
I want to believe her, I do. But she’s a demon, and she fooled me once before. Maybe it was a childish thing to do, the sort of thing Will Stanton did when he set the logs alight in The Dark is Rising; maybe it was the act of a prepubescent kind of magic, a show of pride, a foolish, foolish show of pride, but I did it, and here we are. And the heaviness of it is realising that it is not just that I have bound Rachel. I have bound Rachel to me. And that makes it my responsibility to make sure she’s informed enough about everything to make reasoned decisions. Maybe she didn’t really know what she was doing when she influenced Nathaniel and me to confront Major FuckBeak with her and endangered both of our lives. She told me she’d been a demon for little more than a month. Maybe we are at the same stage and level of ability. She did help me learn to think about glamour and illusion during one of our conversations at the Castle Shithole tavern, before it all went down and I felt so betrayed and furious toward her. And maybe she really believes what she said about somehow selflessly giving her life, but it can’t have been selfless.
I hope we will continue to talk: I enjoyed not having her constantly bringing up that one moment, and I enjoyed being able to talk to her again without having it all be about that. She is smart, and she appears forthright most of the time. And when she told me what Padishar had done to her, my blood went cold. What will he do to me, if I do not give him what he wants– if I cannot give him what he wants? And what am I doing making promises to demons? There has to be something wrong with that.
Inevitably, she made it clear to me that she did not trust me and that her trust, too, has been abused. I told her I intended to make her predicament as pleasant for her as possible, and I meant it. I feel guilty enough having fucked up and summoned her back here to begin with, particularly when I’m certain I gave Padishar the impression I would not be using the information he gave me. I suspect my next meeting with Padishar will involve a lecture, at the very least.
All of this scares me. I’ve promised Padishar I’ll tell him anything I find out about the Sluagh, and about the Seelie. I’ve promised not to spy on Queen Faermorn. But the thing is, while I feel comfortable, so at home, in Faery, I dislike the creatures I meet most of the time. They do not seem to think like me, feel like me, react like me. I am beginning to think that somehow, some way, I must find the Seelie Court and see what I think of it, see if I feel more at home there. But how can I feel at home in a place I’ve promised to inform on? I guess that must be the nature of spying. Still, I do not know what will happen if I am forced to, or if I feel called to, swear fealty to anyone here. And I understand my path will be even more difficult if I do not.
After Rachel and I talked, Aoibheann and Nathaniel came round, and I had to tell them that A) I’d made a deal with Padishar to get Rachel’s true name; B) I had summoned her and bound her; C) I’d made a deal with Braeden to save Aoibheann from further hurt; and D) Paasheeluu was dead. I think all that information must have been a shock. We talked for a while about the situation with the Sluagh and the Huntsman, and then I just sat there, listening, memorising all their faces, in case I am shortly in a situation where I will not see them again for some time, or even maybe ever again.
I will miss them so much if I am torn to pieces by the Hunt. There never were two better people to make drinks with, talk with, laugh with, go through terrible things with, come out the other side with. For people I have known for such a short time — has it been a year now? — I have come to believe that I don’t want to spend my life without them in it in some way. Even if something dark and terrible happens in Ashmourne, I would still want to be tied to these two. Even if our paths separate. Even if they’re not real. Even if I’m already dead.