Tuesday 14th August
All was going well. It had been over a week since Joel and Susanna had broken up. But on what would have been their one-month anniversary, Svetlana came home from the cattery in evident distress.
“They’re back together, Kenner; they’ve gotten back together.”
She came into the living room, sat down on the sofa and plucked a black feather out of one of her wings. She examined it and winced.
“6.9. But that will increase. It was going to be low after the separation.”
“Dammit,” Kenny muttered, frustrated. “What happened?”
“Susanna just kind of looked at him and wilted. I think she realised it would have been their one month anniversary today. She mentioned to me that they would have gone to Paris this weekend and Joel overheard. He looked at her and ... I saw the hope in his eyes, and a sort of resigned guilt in hers. It was like they could never have been apart for long. Oh Kenner, what are we going to do?”
“Stop them. We have to.”
“I know that, but how? I don’t know when they’re going to do something romantic together so we can’t stand them up: plus I think it’s better to do something as soon as possible - to quash this rebellion before it’s truly begun. That way, they’ll know we’re serious about stopping them.”
Kenny sat down on the sofa and thought. Nothing came to mind.
After a pause, Svetlana asked, “Kenner, can we make her interested in someone else?”
“Svetlana, that’s against the rules. It’s not fair on the someone else.”
Svetlana looked at the floor and murmured “But what if it were you?”
“Me?” Kenny said stunned. “She wouldn’t be interested in me.”
“We’d be using magic, remember?” Svetlana said patiently.
“But ... I’m a Guardian as well. I don’t think this would avert Chaos.”
“But if you didn’t care...?”
“It’s not just love that’s forbidden between a Guardian and a human, Lana: it’s any relationship that goes beyond friendship. That includes one night stands and friendship with benefits.”
“I see. What about targeting Joel?”
“We couldn’t use feathers, in that case.”
“What about... a potion that makes him really cold and heartless?”
“That might work,” Kenny agreed.
“And if it fails, I guess we’ll have to resort to the Heartbreak Arrow.”
“That we might.”
“I’ll go ask Uncle Frey tonight,” Svetlana said. “But first, I could do with some dinner. Any ideas?”
“Well, I was going to cook a quiche. Any objections”
“Nope, that sounds good. Need any help?”
“Nah, it’s just putting something in the oven and keeping an eye on it. I also found a Pyrex saucepan I can use to microwave the vegetables.”
“These humans are genii.”
“They are, aren’t they?”
Svetlana returned from her visit to her uncle, smiling.
“He’s going to get someone at the Lab to brew the potion tonight and have it delivered tomorrow.”
“Brilliant,” Kenny replied. “How are you going to get Joel to drink it?”
“I’m going to put it in his tea.”
“Mm-hm. Ah, I hope this works, Kenner.”
“Me too,” he agreed. “I was hoping to go back soon. Every day I spend here is a temptation.”
“I wish there was something I could do. Or something the Council could do. Surely it can’t have escaped their notice that you’re a great Guardian?”
“They don’t hand out permission slips to create Chaos, Svetlana.”
“I know... But you deserve Jennifer. And she deserves you. You’d make a great couple.”
Kenny frowned slightly.
“But would we? Even if I still be a Guardian and be in a relationship with her, wouldn’t that taint her innocence even more? To see me coming back from missions where I’ve hurt people... I don’t know that I could do that to her.”
“She’d comfort you. Remind you what you’re doing it for.”
“Yeah, that’s true,” Kenny said, now despondent as he imagined meeting up with Jennifer and her throwing her arms around him, only needing to see the expression that appeared on his face as he watched the havoc and pain he had spread, which usually stayed there afterwards for a while, to know what he had been through.
Svetlana hugged him, strangely echoing this daydream.
“I’m sorry; I shouldn’t be saying things like this.”
“Nah, don’t worry about it,” he said, hugging her back. “I’m all right.”
“Good. That’s what I like to hear.”