1893: Pip

1893: Pip

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Read after Black Sun 011.

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Point of View: Leo Lanier
Featured Characters: Leo Lanier, Violet Whelan
Word Count: 551

The story of Leo and Violet playing in the woods from Black Sun 011, retold from Leo’s perspective.

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It was a beautiful day. The sun was warm on his face, the forest quiet but for the soft creaking of branches. That was why he’d come out here; sometimes, he simply needed to get away from everything. To be totally alone and clear his mind.

But his solitude didn’t last as long as he’d hoped.

“I know you’re up there!” a light chirp pierced his reverie, breezy and carefree as the wind that caught at his hair. “You cannot hide from me!”

The owner of the voice appeared a moment later as she rushed out of the treeline, scrambling to the foot of the great apple tree. Despite the mad dash of her entrance, her raven-black hair remained pinned in perfect curls at the back of her head, and she wore a new sunshine-yellow dress. The whole effect made her look rather the pretty and proper little lady.

Which just made Leo want to laugh, because this hoyden was anything but proper.

“You’re getting too old for this, Pip.” He peered down from between the branches where he perched. “Go home before your passel of brothers comes and finds you chasing after a man in the woods.”

“I shan’t go home and you can’t make me!” Pip stomped her foot and bestowed upon him her best stubborn scowl. “I’m not afraid of my brothers.”

Leo smiled, his eyes betraying the laughter he was so careful to contain. “True. You’re not afraid of anything, and that’s the problem.”

“Come down here at once!” demanded Pip. She circled the base of the tree like a tiny predator on the prowl, her face still turned up toward him.

“No,” Leo answered at once. “I’m hiding from silly girls. Speaking of silly girls, what have you done with my sister?”

“I left her behind with Adelia and Era. They’ll keep her so turned about with their nonsense that she won’t think to look for me,” Pip retorted with a sniff. “And if you’re not coming down, then I shall have to come up!”

Despite Leo’s sound of protest, Pip began to shuck off her shoes, hike up her skirt, and scale the tree’s trunk. She clambered onto one branch, then another with practiced ease.

“You’re going to fall,” he informed her, all matter-of-fact, swinging his legs over the side of his perch and giving her an exasperated look. “And your brothers will blame me.”

She laughed, balancing on the branch below him with one foot. “Then you had best catch me!”

“Pip, that’s not funny-”

“Catch me, Leo!” she sang, and windmilled her arms, teetering dangerously.

Panic choked him. Quick as a flash, he reached down to grab her around the waist. But she was still giggling as he hauled her up onto his lap and glared at her.

“You’re going to be the death of me, Violet Whelan,” he told her.

“No,” she argued, tilting her head and giving him a smile that did strange things to his chest. “I’m going to get bigger and prettier and then you’re going to marry me. You’ll see!”

“…We’ll see,” he answered, tucking his chin on top of her head and turning his eyes back to the tops of the dark green pines.

They sat there together until the sun began to sink in the sky.

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