Aya sped through the streets of LA, keeping pace with the car. Gritting her teeth, she pushed herself faster, pulling the car closer and closer. She reached out a slender hand to touch the car and --
Aya found herself seated in the backseat. To one side sat a tall, menacing presence, his soul dark and flickering. To the other:
Her soul was… muted somehow. Aya furrowed her eyebrows. What did that mean? Was she hurt? Aya slowly raised a hand, hesitating a moment. Then she reached out to touch Uná. The world snapped into focus around her.
Uná sat in a room that was not the dorm room. The walls were aqua in color and they faded to a sea green as they rippled like water. There was a mirror on one wall as if it were a dance studio. Uná was dressed in a pale powder blue flowing dress that just came down to her knees. Her head was tilted back and eyes closed. She hummed “Spring” by Vivaldi and tapped her feet to the beat. The humming sounded like it was more than one person. “I know you’re there.” This was Uná’s voice but not Uná’s voice. There was something extra in it or when she spoke that she spoke with more than one voice.
Uná looked over at Aya and smiled. “Hello Aya.” Uná’s eyes were fully black and very alien like with no whites and certainly no color other than black. It was a black that seemed to reflect different colors as if black could be iridescent.
Silver eyes blinked at black ones. Aya looked around at the room, at Uná. A dream? Uná was sleeping. Aya didn’t know she could enter dreams.
“Uná are you ok?” was the first thing out of her mouth. “You’re in a car with some man. Do you remember what happened?” Aya bit her lip, bringing her arms up to hug herself. “I’m back at the club.” She’d never told Uná about her powers, she realized. “There’s some sort of monster there or something.”
Uná tilted her head birdlike. “Pity. You are safer here. The Sluagh would be hungry. You would be useful later. That man doesn’t know the consequences of what he’s done. I remember breaking free. I remember doing what I want for once. That I remember. She remembered more and her memories were… intoxicating. "On to more important things...like how did you get here?”
Aya raised a concerned eyebrow. Was… was she still drunk? “This is… what I can do, I guess.” Aya shook her head. “But Uná,” she started, “if that monster is yours, can you get rid of it? People are getting hurt. I even heard gunfire.” It’d been loud and all-consuming, like being close to an aerial on New Year’s Eve.
Uná stood up and walked over to the mirror touching it absently with a fingertip. She looked over her shoulder at Aya. “If it were mine it wouldn’t be there Aya. Think about this. Come come now you can put two and two together and make four. Here let me help you out a bit.” Uná walked away from the mirror back to Aya but her reflection stayed. The Uná in the mirror looked around and caught sight of Aya, her eyes the normal clear blue. She was talking but with no sounds. She was pounding on the mirror and trying to get Aya to understand something, again no sounds.
Aya cast a wary gaze to Uná before moving to the mirror. A tentative hand lifted, fingers grazing the cold surface.
The black eyes. The confusing, condescending way she spoke. Aya turned to look back at the Uná standing in the middle of the room.
“Who are you?” Her voice was stronger than she expected, fortified by anger and worry for her friend.
Uná rolled her eyes. “Uná. Ask me a hard question.”
Aya narrowed her own. “What are you?”
Uná smiled. “That’s better. I suppose I can tell you but I must warn you if you repeat this at all to anyone including me there will be dire consequences.”
Aya stood her ground, watching the black-eyed Uná. She would not be intimidated, even as she felt her heart hammering in her chest. She placed a hand behind her back, fingers against the mirror.
Uná’s smile broadened. “I warned you. Who knows if you remember after you leave. So are you following that I am Uná and so is she?” Uná points to her reflection that is getting really frustrated now.
Aya didn’t respond, growing tired with her tone.
Uná sneered. “Fine. Whatever. I am her Tuatha da Danaan aspect. I am her and she is me. I’m just a part of her that was buried and locked away in the transition to this realm. That thing back there is out to drag her back to find out who my real parents are. See isn’t that wonderful? Now that you have all that knowledge and I’ve unburdened myself I can relax.” She sat down and smiled at Aya again.
Her words swirled around Aya, some making sense, others confusing her completely. Tuatha da… what? Uná was Irish, she knew, so it was probably related to that. She was adopted, too, Aya remembered.
“Let her out.”
Gritting her teeth Uná snarled. “Fine. I’ll be back later though.” Walking up to the mirror she walked into it and merged with the other Uná who came stumbling out of the mirror.
“AYA!!!” she threw her arms around the other girl in a hug.
Aya hugged Uná back, wary but relieved. Was… was it that easy?
“Are you ok?” she asked, pulling back. “How much do you remember?”
Uná winced. I remember drinking, dancing with Nik, kissing Nik, drinking more, dancing…” Uná blushed. “If you can call that dancing...ohmygod I made out with Frost. I have to tell Nikolai...and I don’t want to…” Uná put her face in her hands. “Then something shifted and something called my name or somethings...did I pass out? How are you here? What’s going on?”
“I’m back at the club actually. This is just… what I do. You’re in a car driving through LA right now. I think we’re in your dream. That albino man you were dancing with --” ‘dancing with’ “took you. But before you left, some… monster appeared.” Aya searched for the word the other Uná had used. “A… sluagh?” Aya pressed her lips together. “Uná, do you remember anything after? Being in the mirror?”
Uná looked up from her hands. “Mirror? No…” She looked confused. “How did you know the term for the dregs of the fairy courts? What do you mean a sluagh? I didn’t do that. I should be able to tell you. I knew when I made Isaac I just wasn’t conscious.” Uná started to get mad. “That jerk took me?!?!? I hope you guys find him and force him to have to sit on his foot to eat it!!!”
Aya shook her head. “I’ll explain later,” she said, remembering the other Uná’s warning. Aya was absolutely going to tell a teacher once they were out of this mess, but telling Uná while in her mind seemed like a foolish idea. Who knew what the other one could hear? “I’m following you right now so whenever you stop moving I’ll tell the others where to find you.”
Uná smirked. “Boy that is handy. I guess it’s hurry up and wait at this point then. How long can you be away from your body?”
Aya shrugged. “My record is three days but I think I can go longer. I’m not sure how far I can go from my body either, but I guess we’ll find out.” Testing time or distance hadn’t come up yet with Prof. Everose. They’d mostly been working on maintaining a connection with her body, hence why it was currently standing against the club wall rather than collapsed on the ground.
Uná looked concerned at Aya. “Can you find me again if you have to leave?”
“I’m not sure,” she answered. “I didn’t even know I could do this. I’ll stay with you as long as I can though.” Aya paused. “Actually, I should probably check to see if you’ve stopped moving yet.”
Uná nodded. She swallowed nervously and tried to smile. “So have anything else to talk about? I really don't want to dwell on my situation.”
Aya took Uná’s hand and gave it a small squeeze. “I know,” she said, giving her a sympathetic look. “I’m just going to have a quick look outside. If they’re still driving then I’ll be right back. If I’m not back… then that just means we’re already on our way to get you.” Aya gave a weak smile. “And hey,” she continued, reaching up to tuck a strand of hair behind the taller girl’s ear. It was a move she remembered her father doing to her countless times. “You’re tough. Way tougher than some bar creep. I bet by the time we get to you, you won’t even need our help.”
Uná laughed weakly as if trying to hold back tears. “Thanks Aya. Let’s hope you're right.” Uná swallowed back the tears and cleared her throat and sat up straighter. “Right. I got this.”
Aya gave her hand one last squeeze before pulling back.
She… she actually had no idea how to leave this space. She closed her eyes. Did she just… will herself back to the astral plane? Was it like turning her power on and off? Aya’s brow furrowed as she tried to concentrate.
An eye peaked open. Uná was still in front of her. She skewed her mouth to the side and took a deep breath. Her shoulders dropped as she tried to relax. Then --
Aya found herself back on the astral plane. She blinked her eyes open to herself back in the car, two souls shining on either side of her, constellations speeding around her. The car was still moving, then. Aya sighed, disappointed. She actually was a bit concerned about how long she could keep this up for. She knew time probably wouldn’t be an issue, but distance… Aya didn’t want to know what happened if she took her soul too far from her body. Not to mention, she’d just left her body in a crowded, hectic area in the middle of a monster attack. She could only hope one of her classmates found her body and took care of it. If not one of them…
Oh god. Her eyes widened.
She was using her power in the middle of a crowd. If she was just standing, catatonic, then that was one thing, but had she closed her eyes? Panic started to rise in Aya’s chest. Prof. Everose had told her her eyes turned silver when she used her power. If her eyes were open and someone saw…
Fear was petrifying as it twined around her heart. Aya was only just becoming used to the idea of becoming a mutant. She’d never even said the words out loud to herself before. But she was going to be discovered. Everyone would find out. And then there would be a short line to draw from her mutation to Kainoa.
Aya’s mind spiralled, switching rapidly between panic, regret, and self-loathing. What was she going to do? What was she going to do?! Aya was fairly certain that if she had a body she’d be hyperventilating. She brought the heels of her hands up to press into her eyes. Idiot… She’d been so careful up until now.
All for nothing.
Aya’s hands fell back into her lap as she dropped her head back to look up at the sky through the car roof. Two souls flickered and glowed on either side of her, just edging into her peripheral vision.
She turned to look at the more commanding of the two souls, the towering man who'd stolen Uná from them. She took in his face, outlined by stars. Then she turned to look at Uná again. Her soul seemed more vibrant at least; stronger, like whatever had been dampening it was gone. Aya thought back to the odd black-eyed Uná. This was the second classmate of hers now with some hidden, darker half.
She furrowed her eyebrows. She had to stay with Uná. As much as she wanted to go back to her body, make sure her secret was safe, as terrified as she was... she couldn't leave her friend. Aya didn't know if she'd be able to find them again if she went back. And Uná was more or less helpless while unconscious. Who knew when she'd wake up? She had to stay. For Uná.
And if she was discovered, then... well, she supposed it was no more than what she deserved.
Squeezing her eyes shut, Aya dropped her head back again, steeling herself. Uná first. Then she'd deal with whatever came after.
Aya sat back up and opened her eyes. Then she reached out to touch Uná again. The next moment she found herself back in the familiar room, as solid and bright as if it were real, sitting across from her roommate.
"Looks like it's you and me for a bit more," she said, forcing a smile. All there was to do now was to distract both of them from whatever was to come.