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Poor Timing

by NonAnalogue

NonAnalogue A chance encounter at a healer's shop
"Hello, sirs, and welcome to Desi and Desta's House of Heals!" Desideria de Sanctus gave her best smile to the pair that was walking through the door. She was proud of that name. She had spent three days coming up with that name. Desta, her partner in the business, was less fond of it; he had insisted on a more dignified name. Much like every argument they had, though, Desi won it out; in the past, this had led to their business being located near the beach, rather than in town, as well as the building being painted a shade of blue that immediately distinguished it from every other building in the vicinity.

The two men entering didn't seem to take any notice of that. Well, to put it more accurately, one of the men was entering; the second man was just being carried. This seemed odd enough in and of itself; the second man was quite a bit taller than the first, and it was somewhat of a mystery how the first man was doing any sort of carrying at all. He set the second man, who remained as still as a plank, on the ground, then wiped some sweat from his forehead. "Morning," he said with a nod. His voice, Desi thought, was exactly the sort of voice she expected a short, slight guy to have - slightly nasal with a hint of impatience around the edge. He was wearing thick purple robes, which might have been contributing to the sweat, and Desi could just barely see some bright red hair peeking out from inside his hood.

Desi stood up from her chair and walked past her desk, kneeling next to the prone man. "What happened to him?" she asked, looking him over. He was wearing similar robes, but he wore them less well - his gangly legs were sticking out of the bottom.

"You know how it is," the man said, perhaps a bit more nonchalantly than Desi would have expected. "You mess around a little with time magic, one thing leads to another, and then there you are."

"...Come again?"

The man sighed. "Okay, let me go a bit more in-depth here."

Desi would learn to dread that phrase. 15 minutes later, and all that she had gleaned is that whatever it was, it wasn't life-threatening, but it was inconvenient, and the normal healer they went to when they were in town had moved. She held up a hand midway through one of his sentences. "Hold on. Let's cut to the chase. What happened to him? And let's try to make it useful and short this time."

"Um..." Apparently, being direct was uncharted territory for him. "It's Fugue's paralysis. Comes on from handling temporal magic too much in quick succession. Should be an easy anti-paralysis spell."

"You should have said so," Desi said, flashing him a half-smile. "This'll be quick." She laid hands on the prone man's shoulders...

...And was greeted for her troubles with a brilliant flash of red light. There was no sensation of motion, but as she blinked to clear her vision, she realized she wasn't in the House of Heals any more. This was...

"Mama's house?" Desi asked. Or, rather, she tried to ask. She didn't, she realized with a mild degree of panic, seem to have any control over her body's motor skills at the moment. She was standing at the door to her mother's house - a small one, in the outskirts of Vezretti. It wasn't elaborate or ornate, she recalled, but her mother had put her heart and soul into maintaining it. It had been nine years since she had last seen it.

"I just can't believe it, Dede," a voice said, coming towards her. Even if she hadn't recognized the voice, the nickname would have pegged it as her mother. She winced, the words digging deep into her memory.

"It's the way it is, Mama!" she heard herself say as her mother approached. "Even the Church is okay with it! They said that they didn't care. They just want apprentice healers!"

"Just because the Church is okay with it, doesn't mean I am, Dede." Her mother looked her in the eyes, her expression sharp. "I can't have anyone living under my roof who's going to act that way."

Desi took a deep breath and inwardly steeled herself. She remembered what came next. "It's not an act, Mom! And if you don't want me here, maybe I'll... I'll go live with Savina! She appreciates me the way I am!"

Her mother's voice chilled. "Go, then," she said. "You'll come back. I know you will."

Tears welled up in Desi's eyes, and she wasn't sure if it was because it happened that way in her memory or if they were coming up now. She jumped down the stairs in front of the house after slamming the door behind her, right in her mother's face. She ran down the street, aiming for Savina's place... before another burst of red threw her forward.

Desi opened her eyes, and immediately closed them. She knew exactly what she was seeing. It was the next time she had seen her mother, eight years after that. She gave a shuddering sigh and, wiping away a few of the tears that had accumulated, opened her eyes again.

There was a stone marker in front of her, sitting behind an urn resting on a bed of flowers. The marker read, very simply, "Urbana de Sanctus."

"Hey! Are you all right?!" There was another flash of red, and Desi found herself on the floor of House of Heals. The redhead had pulled her arms away from the man on the ground. "I tried to warn you! You shouldn't touch someone afflicted with Fugue's paralysis directly; it can pass on through contact!" He shook down one of his sleeves, revealing a pair of purple gloves. "That's why I'm wearing these."

Yes. Of course. Desi sighed. She should have known that. She shook her head, wiped her eyes again, and got back to work.
*that* gay guy likes this.