Elle never had much cause to linger in Mias’ study. Tempting though it was to her curious nature, the consequences wrought by poking her nose in what she could only assume were private matters were not worth the risk – at least right away. As the weeks had passed and living with the magician became her norm, she grew bolder in her attempts to understand him, though her steps remained small.
Lately it’d been arriving at his door a few minutes before the lunch hour so she could walk with him down to the dining hall. He’d let her in only for a few moments as he finished his notes and then they’d depart without commentary on the subject.
Today was different, however. Elle found herself pacing the study, listening to the scratching of Mias’ quill on parchment. It was already a quarter passed noon, how much longer did he intend to put off their meal?
“Finished yet?” She asked, trying not to let the grumbling in her stomach make her sound too whiney.
“Nearly done,” he replied, not once turning his eyes away from his work.
Elle sighed to herself and stepped toward the back wall where a lone cabinet, one nearly the length of the wall itself, stood apart from the other furnishes. It was a dark wood lacking the usual shine and refinement the other pieces had, though the details in the carving still gave it its unique charm. “Do you mind if I look in here?”
“Mn…” was the response she got.
It’d be his own fault then for not answering her clearly, Elle decided as she opened one of the doors to inspect the contents within. She found glass bottles, mostly empty ones, though a few had colorful liquids contained at varying heights. The bottles themselves were gorgeous glasswork, each one different from the other. They reminded her of perfume bottles, but seeing as that was unlikely, Elle felt assured in ruling they must be his potions. Liquid magic mostly used in lieu of medicine, she recalled Mias saying once.
She plucked a small, diamond shaped bottle from the eye level shelf to more closely examine the extract of light pink liquid still contained within. It was beautiful. From a distance it might only appear as colored water, but up close it had a certain sparkle to it that wasn’t a result of the ornate glassware. She couldn’t help but wonder what its effects were.
“I’m finished, my dear,” Mias announced suddenly in a voice louder than she expected.
She jumped along with the glass stopper for the bottle and turned around unknowingly of the slip. “Oh! Um, good.”
He finally turned around and while his expression turned unpleasant, at least he didn’t yell at her. “Do not play around with my potions.”
“I’m not playing,” she frowned. “Just looking.”
“And touching,” he added as he rose from his chair to approach her.
Elle never liked it when he ganged up on her looking displeased. She hadn’t done anything wrong and if potions were medicines, so long as she didn’t drink them, what was the harm in examining one a little closer. She squeezed the bottle to her chest, tilted the top towards her until she felt Mias’ shadow over her. She hated being scolded by him, mostly because he always made her feel like a child over natural curiosity.
“Elle, careful!” The tone of his voice suddenly changed and she felt the material of her brassiere dampen.
She looked down to discover some of the liquid had spilled between her cleavage. The direct contact to her skin didn’t burn, so Elle remained rather calm as she quickly returned the bottle to the shelf. “Sorry! I thought the top was on!”
“You fool! Some of these are dangerous!” He shouted, reluctantly avoiding touching her moistened bosom to examine which of his potions she’d spilled and sighed with some relief, indicating it wasn’t anything harmful.
Relieved that Mias stayed calm, Elle knelt to the floor to look for the bottle top. She hadn’t heard it break, so it had to be in tact somewhere: under the cabinet no doubt.
“Now what one…?” Mias began to ask himself just what spell he had stored in the bottle, but as he glanced over to inspect what Elle was doing on the floor, he suddenly remembered, mostly because it was obvious.
Elle’s body had shrunk to nearly one fourth of her usual size, only this wasn’t the halfway point between her rodent transformation. Her hair had grown back in to the length of her chin, her limbs were chubbier, and her face rounder. It wasn’t that she had shrunk; her very age had been reversed.
“Elle…?” Mias gulped nervously as he watched her crawl out of her dress that no longer fit and scoot across the floor faster than even thought a toddler was capable of. Pushing his anxiety aside, he quickly snatched her up into his arms. “Ah-ah, where do you think you’re going?”
“Go!” She said, squirming in his arms defiantly.
“Go where?” Mias asked, recalling that the details of the age reversal potion meant the mind regressed as well, and unfortunately, there wasn’t much he could do other than wait for the effects to wear off. Still, that meant he was stuck tending to a child until then, but this was Elle. Surely she’d be a good little girl until that time came. It may be the only time she’d ever be completely obedient to him.
“Down now!” She screamed, pulling at his fingers and shattering his dreams yet again as en even wilder stubbornness appeared. “Down now! Down NOW!”
Her temper scared him enough to comply and he set her down carefully onto her feet. He estimated her age to be between a year and two given some understanding of language and the fact she seemed sure footed enough to walk on her own, and of course she had no shame in waddling around in her birthday suit in front of him.
She reached the door, but not the handle and puffed out her cheeks angrily as she looked back at him.
“Do you want to go out?”
“Out.” She demanded, still scowling adorably.
“Alright, alright, but first let’s get dressed, okay?”
Elle held herself against the door as she watched Mias magically manipulate her recently shed clothes into those of a proper size.
“Come here,” Mias beckoned, holding up the dress for her to see. “We’re going to put on the pretty dress.”
“NO,” she stamped her foot. “OUT!”
“You can’t run around the house naked.” That was the first time Mias ever said that to a woman. If only Elle saw fit to streak through the halls at her proper age. “Now come here.”
She stuck her tongue at him and blew a very wet raspberry.
“You little—!” Mias caught himself, remembering there was no use getting upset with her at any age, but she seemed a right nightmare as a toddler. “Elle, will you please come here?”
And his patience was gone. There was no way he was going to have an argument with a baby. He crossed the room and grabbed her, instantly causing more shouting and then crying that far exceeded the range he was accustomed to. “Stop crying and just put on the bloody dress!”
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” She wailed, and in no time brought the curious up to the study.
“Sir, we heard the most horrific cry—” Malcolm began as he threw open the door, only to pause upon seeing his master fighting to cloth a defiant toddler. He couldn’t save face and immediately burst into laughter as the maid and Abernos arrived behind him.
“A baby?! Master, what happened?!” Retti asked as she rushed to his aid, what female instinct she did have driving her to take Elle into her arms and cradle her protectively. “There, there.”
“But that’s…” Abernos knew the hair color on the child could only belong to one person. “Is that Elle?!”
“Miss Elle?!” Retti gasped, holding the child out for a better look once her cries had settled.
“She came into contact with some of my stored magic…” Mias admitted. “The age reversal potion.”
“H-How do we change her back?!” Abernos asked.
“You have to let it run its course. The beauty of magic is its transience, but mostly because permanent spells require far more power and aren’t always effective. I could try to reverse it, but since that’s not my usual practice, I’m not going to make Elle a test subject,” Mias explained. “It’s too risky.”
“So she’s stuck like this?” Abernos asked, gesturing to Retti if he could hold her to which the maid agreed and carefully transferred her into his arms.
“Fwuffy!” Elle suddenly giggled and patted Abernos’ forearms.
“Unfortunately…” Mias groaned.
A gurgle from Elle’s stomach changed her mood back to sour and she began to fuss in Abernos’ arms. “Down…!”
“Oh, that’s right. It’s lunch time. You two didn’t go down yet, did you?” Retti asked Mias.
Is that why she was causing a fuss? Mias asked himself as he watched Abernos and Retti leave with Elle only to be left with Malcolm snickering in the doorway. “Ugh… whatever you’re going to say, say it…”
“Forgive me, Master, but it’s too funny. How many times has she asked you not to treat her like a child and now here she is, a child!” He chuckled politely behind his hand.
“Yes, haha, but you know where I stand on children, Malcolm.”
“And what, you’ll let the servants look after her? I’m sure she’ll be right pleased to hear about that when the spell wears off,” the vampire grinned.
“She won’t have any memory of it. She’s two.”
“Do you really think you’ll get that lucky?”
“…No, I do not,” Mias cringed. “But she’s so… unruly! And I’m not exactly the child rearing sort.”
“Oh come now, it’s not like she’s an infant. Surely you can handle this challenge.”
“You’re baiting me, Malcolm.”
“And you swore to the girl you’d look after her~,” he replied in a sing-song sort of voice as he moseyed down the hallway.
Malcolm reiterated a point Mias didn’t need reminding of. Elle was his responsibility, and while her current form wasn’t quite what he signed on for, he knew there’d be no living with her afterward if he didn’t at least try.
Down in the dining hall, Percy had quickly amended Elle’s plate to accommodate her current form. Retti had taken the liberty of at least tying a fresh cloth around Elle’s bottom to preserve some of her dignity, and now the toddler was sitting happily on the chef’s lap as he personally hand fed her grapes and bits of chicken.
“Mmmmm!” Elle beamed happily with full cheeks as she politely ate without fuss and to the amusement of the others.
“She’s so cute,” Abernos perked his ears up merrily as he watched her eat.
“I wonder if this form is how she truly was as a baby,” Retti added.
“I bet so,” Abernos grinned and kept wiggling his ears each time Elle looked over at him. It made her giggle and smile wide.
Percy smiled as well as he carefully held a glass of water to Elle’s mouth to let her wash down her meal. Excess dribbled down her front, but the chef tentatively wiped it up with a napkin and then dabbed her mouth dry. “All done, Miss.”
“All done!” Elle repeated, shooting her hands up triumphantly into the air.
Percy set the napkin on the table and put her back onto the floor. “Good girl.”
Elle giggled and ran under the table to the chair Abernos sat in and promptly jumped onto his furry leg. “Heehee!”
“Hello Elle,” Abernos peaked under the table to witness the ovary bursting sweetness that was little Elle hugging his leg cheerily. “Do you want to play?”
“Yeah!” She responded enthusiastically and hugged his leg tighter as he got up to walk out of the dining hall.
“Shouldn’t we dress her first?” Retti asked, helping Percy to clear dishes onto the trolley.
“I’ll see if I can get that dress from Mias,” Abernos said, being cautious with his steps as he didn’t want to hurt Elle as he walked. He didn’t have to step far before he encountered the magician heading towards them in the corridor. “Oh, there you are! Do you think we can get her dressed?”
“Of course we can. She’s only a child,” Mias said as he bent down on his knees to meet Elle’s eye level. “Elle, would you come here for a moment?”
“Uh-Uh,” she shook her head and hugged Abernos’ shin tighter.
“It’s alright, Elle,” Abernos assured her.
Elle didn’t budge and hid her head behind Abernos’ calf.
“…I think she’s scared of you,” the stag said.
“Great…” Mias groaned sarcastically. It was to be expected, he realized. He didn’t look like the friendliest of men to adults to begin with, so of course he’d send little girls hiding – even Elle.
“Elle,” Abernos leaned down to touch her shoulder. “It’s alright. I know he looks scary, but he won’t hurt you.”
“That’s right,” Mias smiled, his mind working quickly to develop a plan to coax her out. He extended his right hand forward and conjured a small ball of green flames and with some concentration, turned the color to pink and the flames to fluttering butterflies around his fingers.
Her large grey eyes were instantly transfixed and she stood on her feet, still half hidden behind Abernos.
“See? I’m not scary,” Mias explained, swirling his fingers around to draw the butterflies back into his hand where they disappeared, much to Elle’s amazement.
She stepped over to him and grabbed his hand to investigate their whereabouts. She looked the entire hand over before looking up at him with a puzzled look on her face. “Where’d they go?”
“It’s a secret,” he smiled, holding a finger to his lips. “Only good little girls who put on their clothes get to know.”
“Do you want to put your dress on?” He asked, taking the garment draped over his sleeve and holding it up.
“Okay,” she consented and lifted her arms up as Mias pulled it down over her head.
He struggled a bit at first to get her arms through the sleeves, but after a little fuss and brushing her hair back into place with his fingers, she finally looked presentable. “My, aren’t you pretty.”
She giggled a little before staring back up on him. “So what’s the secret?”
“Okay, I’ll tell you,” he leaned his lips down to her ear and whispered something that only made her confused again.
“Huh? Whazzat mean?”
“It means I’m a very special person,” he smiled and picked her up, this time without any fuss.
Elle had little comprehension of his words and in typical child form, decided to move on to more important matters. “Wanna play?”
“I was thinking I’d take her outside to run around,” Abernos told him.
“Alright, I’ll join you,” he agreed, once again underestimating her energy.
Nearly three hours later, both Mias and Abernos had collapsed with their backs against one another’s in the side field while an ever giggling Elle tried to get the dogs in the playing spirit.
“Puppy, come on!” She ordered, tugging on one of the hound’s long ears. When he didn’t respond, she plopped down at his side and reclined against him. Her eyes became droopy and she yawned quietly as the last of her reserves were depleted and a nap was inevitable.
“Ah, finally tuckered out, eh young lass?” The groundskeeper who’d been watching from a distance made his way over to the group and scooped Elle up with one arm before tapping his boot against Mias and Abernos. “Oy, ya can’t leave her unsupervised, ya know.”
“We’re exhausted, Gale…” Mias groaned.
“Aye, they tend to do that,” he chuckled and placed Elle into Mias’ arms. “But ain’t that face make it worth it?”
Using what strength he had left, Mias tilted his head down to find Elle nestling into his chest. Forget cuteness, having her asleep was the real welcomed sight.
“She’ll probably nap for an hour or two,” Gale warned him. “If ya were wise, ya’d take that time to recoup too.”
“You’re a father Gale, can’t you look after her…?” A sleepy Abernos asked.
“Haha, nice try boys, but m’youngest is already seven and I’m happy to have the baby days behind me.” His words provoked another groan from the two. “Ah come now. Ya’ll younger than me – ya have no excuse t’ be complain’. Lil lass ain’t gonna be this small for long, so ya should enjoy it while it lasts.”
“‘Enjoy’ isn’t exactly the word I had in mind,” Mias grumbled. He wasn’t sure how long the spell would last, results varied, but he preferred it to be sooner rather than later.
It took some motivating, but eventually he and Abernos returned to the manor to find proper resting spots. Abernos collapsed on the couch in the parlor room while Mias was able to make it up to Elle’s room. He kicked off his boots after sitting on the edge of the bed and swung his legs up onto the mattress once his feet were free. Reclining back into the pillows, he made sure Elle was secure and content in his arms before he dared close his eyes to rest.
“Mias,” Elle called his name while lightly slapping her entire hand against his cheeks.
He groaned, but didn’t awaken.
Elle pouted and crawled further up his chest to grab the antenna like lock of hair he never seemed able to push back. One good pull was all it took for him to open his eyes.
“Ow! Ow, ow… Elle, what are you doing? Let go!”
She giggled as he forcibly removed her hand and held it so she wouldn’t be tempted to continue.
“What is it you…” His voice trailed off as he realized the front of his shirt was damp. Praying it wasn’t what he thought, he looked down at the skirt of her dress, and sure it enough, it was wet. “You didn’t…”
Elle innocently blinked her eyes. It wasn’t something a two-year old body could control after all. It was actually somewhat impressive it soaked through two layers of cloth, but it wasn’t anything to be happy about.
“Ugh… Anaret!” He called for the maid as he set Elle on the mattress and began pulling off his shirt.
It took only a few moments for her to appear at the door. “Yes sir?”
“Change her, would you? And wash my tunic.”
“Yes sir,” Retti rushed over to the bed, gathered Elle in one arm and Mias’ laundry in the other.
“Retti!” Elle giggled and tugged on one of the girl’s braids.
“Yes Miss, please hold on,” Retti told her and Elle let go in favor of looking over her shoulder to grin at Mias as they left for the scullery room.
“Bye-bye!” She waved.
Mias gave an unenthused wave back as he turned to walk up the hall to his room for a change of clothing as well. He didn’t understand how Gale thought any of this was enjoyable. She fussed, had unrivaled energy, and no bladder control – where was the fun in any of that? She may be cute, but it wasn’t summoning any parental instinct.
He wasn’t the sort for children, never had been, although aside from his occasional encounters with Marius as an infant, he hadn’t actually had much experience with them. It wasn’t something a powerful Lord like himself need concern about, even if he were to sire a child, it’s not like he’d be the one raising it.
“There we are, a clean bottom and a fresh nappy,” Retti smiled as she finished tying the cloth diaper around Elle’s hips. “I imagine you’d be quite embarrassed if you were your normal self Miss, but worry not this shall remain between us.”
Elle giggled and sat up to pull both Retti’s braids.
“Ow! Miss Elle, please!” She managed to free her hair and then walked over to one of the indoor clothes lines where one of her shirt hung. “I think I can fashion this into a makeshift dress for you… I’ll just need a bit of ribbon.”
“Ribbon?!” Elle’s eyes sparkled excitedly.
“Yes, Miss. What color would you prefer?” She asked while seeking her sewing basket off one of the linen shelves.
“Pink!” Elle said without hesitation.
“Pink it is,” Retti produced a spool of ribbon from the basket along with a pair of scissors and after gathering the shirt off the line, pulled it over Elle’s head and began the alterations. She tied a ribbon in a belt around the waist, pulling up the access shirt so the hem rose just above Elle’s feet, and then did a similar tie with the sleeves. The access fabric made for a rather baggy looking dress, but with pretty pink bows tied at her back and sleeves, Elle wasn’t complaining.
She giggled and Retti cut one last length of ribbon and tied a bow in Elle’s hair. “Oooo! Pretty!”
“There, that should do for now,” the maid smiled.
“You too! You too!” Elle insisted, pointing at Retti’s braids.
“Me? I’m a little old for hair ribbons, Miss.”
“Do it!” Elle ordered.
“Yes Miss,” Retti obeyed without once taking into consideration her orders came from a toddler, before returning the girl back to Mias in his room. “Um, did you want me to continue to look after her since I have experience with children?”
“No, Elle is my responsibility. I didn’t hire you for child care,” Mias said as he took Elle back into his arms.
“Yes sir,” Retti bowed. “May I bring you anything?”
“See if you can find any old toys in the attic to amuse her,” Mias said before Elle pulled on his ear. “Ow! And do be quick about it!”
“Yes sir!” The maid rushed out of the room in search of any child-friendly play-thing to alleviate the roll from Mias.
“I don’t know why I had it in my head that you of all people would behave for me,” Mias complained out loud as he pried Elle’s fingers off his ear while listening to her mischievous giggles. His ear freed, he held her out at arm’s length and sighed. “You like annoying me, don’t you?”
“What’s ‘annoy’?” Elle asked innocently.
“Never mind,” he said as he dared to set her down on her own two feet. “Now then, what to do with you…”
Elle looked around the room before confronting him with her large grey eyes. “Why do you look like a badger?”
She giggled and poked her fingers near his eye socket. “Badger eyes!”
“They are not badger eyes, they are the marks of a Dormaeus,” he said, once again having to take her fingers to get them off his face. “You can’t keep putting your grubby little hands over everything. Look and don’t touch – hasn’t anyone ever told you that?”
“Daddy,” Elle answered in a laugh. She’d heard it before, but never let it sink in.
“I’m not your father, but you’d better listen to me or you’ll end up getting hurt,” Mias warned her.
Sensing his scolding tone, Elle puffed out her cheeks to pout. “Meanie…”
“Elle, I’m not doing this to be mean,” he bent down a little lower in hopes of looking her in the eyes. “Look at me.”
For once she listened the first time and raised her head up.
“If anything were to happen to you, I’d be very sad. I know you want to have fun, but don’t touch things without permission, okay?”
“Okay…” she said quietly.
“We’ll find something suitable for you to play with, I promise,” he tickled under her chin to get her to smile up at him. “Cheer up.”
“Heehee!” She giggled and for the better part of the day was in a decent mood with him.
Retti’s search of the attic turned up a few old toys, but very few age appropriate ones: a scarce collection of wooden blocks and carved animal figurines made do though for Elle’s imagination. Besides being talkative, she was creative even at this age and often brutal when she exiled the sheep from her make-believe farm for making an omelet out of the chicken’s eggs and was subsequently eaten by wolves, or so Elle told him.
Dinner didn’t stir much of a fuss and neither did bath time, although Retti did exit the bathroom with the front of her clothes soaked, looking defeated and tired while a freshly bathed and changed Elle rushed back to play a little more.
“She… didn’t want to?” Mias asked.
“Oh no, she wanted to be in the water,” Retti answered with a heavy sigh. “But she still splashes...”
Mias chuckled. “Who would have thought she’d be so wild?”
“Do you think you’ll be able to get her to bed, sir?”
“Shouldn’t be too hard,” Mias speculated. “She’s bound to tucker herself out soon.”
“Alright, let me know if you need anything more,” the maid offered reluctantly.
“I can handle it, Anaret. You’re dismissed for the evening,” Mias told her and waited until she stepped out of the room for him to approach Elle. “Having fun?”
“Uh huh,” she said, not even bothering to look up at him.
“Alright,” Mias glanced over at his bookcase and thought he might as well pass his evening time leisurely. “Let me know when you’re tired.”
“’Kay,” Elle responded without care while Mias grabbed a volume to read in the comfort of his chair by the fireplace.
He found his reading glasses upon the nearby table where last he left them, pushed them onto the bridge of his nose, and finally opened the book to his last bookmarked chapter. After only reading a few pages, he felt eyes on him and shifted his glance over the arm of the chair where Elle’s large grey irises were gazing up at him with interest. “Yes?”
“Whatcha readin’?” She asked in a rather sweet tone.
“The Man From Burnt Cove,” he answered.
“It’s a narrative about a man who washes up on a beach with no memory of who he is,” he explained, though doubted Elle could comprehend such a storyline.
Her expression was confused, but still interested and so she proceeded to crawl up onto his lap without cautious mind.
“Alright, alright,” Mias tented the book over the other arm of the chair momentarily to bend down and pick Elle up to avoid any unpleasant grabs. “You want me to read to you?”
She nodded her head and cozied herself between his chest and arm as he took the book back into his hands.
“Mhm,” she nodded.
And so Mias continued reading, this time out loud. He knew Elle wouldn’t understand the tale whether if he began from the beginning or the middle, and she never voiced a complaint on the matter. She just sat there snuggled against him with her eyes growing heavier and heavier until they finally closed. He read on until the chapter’s end, wanting to make certain she was asleep before attempting to move her.
Setting the book aside, he cradled her carefully and walked her over to his bed. Balancing her with one arm, he pulled the duvet back with the other before gently setting her down on the mattress and tucking her in.
“There,” he thought proudly as he returned to his chair to continue reading, “that wasn’t too difficult.”
By the time his own bedtime hour approached, Mias had completed another chapter, taken a bath, and dug to the bottom of his special clothes trunk to find an old set of cotton pajamas he’d maybe worn once before in his life. Not that there’d be any harm to sleeping naked, he just didn’t want any misunderstandings – especially since Elle could revert at any time. He didn’t need that sort of trouble.
Fully dressed, he went about turning down the oil lamps before finally sitting himself down on the opposite side of his bed. The right side. Elle’s usual side. Though she was asleep right across from him, it wasn’t the same. However, it was only for tonight; two nights tops if the spell was stubborn. Maybe she’d even be back to normal by morning. All he had to do was close his eyes and sleep until then.
The sound of Elle’s whimper woke him up roughly two hours later and perplexed him for a moment until his mind awakened as well. “Elle?”
Her crying calmed at first when she heard his voice, but wavered when she couldn’t see him.
“Elle,” he called her name again and crawled across the bed to her side. “Elle, I’m right here. What’s wrong?”
“Want Mum…!” She cried.
“Shh, shh…” He hushed her while pulling her back up into his arms. “She isn’t here.”
“Can’t you go get her…?” She sniffled.
“No Elle, I can’t...” He said regrettably. Her mother would certainly be a great comfort to her, but even with his magic, pulling off a convincing transformation of either parent would be difficult. He also didn’t see the point of lying to her like that, even if she was a child. “Please tell me what’s wrong.”
She shook her head defiantly before burying it into his shoulder.
“Is it too dark?” He guessed, lifting his right hand to conjure a floating fireball to provide some illumination. He stroked his hand over her head until she quieted down a little more and looked up at him with heartbreakingly sad eyes. Mias hadn’t a clue what more he could do other than try to comfort her. Maybe it was the dark, maybe it was a nightmare, or maybe she just missed her mother… regardless of the reason, he hated feeling so damn useless to her.
At least she ceased crying for the moment in favor of grabbing handfuls of his shirt to cling to.
“It’s alright, Elle,” he assured her, continuing to stroke her hair and hug her tight. Maybe she just had a moment of insecurity, he wondered. Sometimes all a child needed was a warm hug and a loving kiss to make it better. He decided it couldn’t hurt to try and tilted his head down to kiss her forehead.
“Nn…” Elle buried her head into his chest.
“What?” He smirked, finding her usual reaction in this form just as adorable. “You don’t want kisses?”
“No,” she said firmly.
“How unfortunate,” he lifted her up a bit higher and kissed her soggy cheek. “Little girls who cry get kisses.”
“No…!” Her face flustered, but he could tell she didn’t have much fight left in her.
“Just one more?” He asked while reclining back against the pillows and freeing her movement to let her go where she wanted.
Elle pouted out her lower lip and reluctantly accepted another kiss to her other cheek.
“I suppose having you irritated is better than having you upset,” he said while pulling the covers back over them. “But it’s a bit late to be anything other than tired. Let’s get some sleep, shall we?”
“Okay…” She responded quietly.
Mias smiled and closed his eyes while he returned to stroking her hair to lull her back to sleep. “Good night.”
“…Night…” She yawned and nuzzled her head into his chest.
And thankfully there were no more incidents that night, and come morning, Mias awoke to find his pajamas dry, but his bed lacking its other occupant which sent him into a panic as soon as he realized Elle’s absence. He flew out bed, shouting her name, and stumbling over the little wooden figures she left out. “Elle! Oo! Ah! OW! ELLE!”
“Would you calm down?! I’m in the bathroom!” He heard her reply in her usual speaking voice.
Curious to see if the transformation had truly worn off, he didn’t think much of common courtesy before barging into the bathroom to find full grown Elle clad in only a baggy shirt sitting on the toilet and proceeding to turn a bright shade of red.
“WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?! GET OUT!” She shouted.
“Oh thank goodness,” Mias heaved a huge sigh of relief and threw his arms around her. He didn’t know how much he missed her need to be independent of him.
“Mias, what the hell?! Get out of here!” Elle kept blushing and trying to force him off without her thighs leaving the toilet seat. “I can go without your help!”
“I know,” he kissed her temple. “You’re a big girl who can take care of herself.”
“You bloody pervert, I’m not playing here now GET. OUT.” She finally got enough force in her arms to push him back, and this time he headed her and closed the bathroom door behind him.
Once said matters were concluded and the two dressed, Elle questioned why she awoke in one of Retti’s chemises and a cloth diaper. She had no recollection of her time revisiting her youth, and perhaps that was a good thing because the more details Mias gave her, the less she wanted to know. By conversation’s end, she’d stubbornly secluded herself in her own room due to embarrassment.
“Elle,” Mias dragged out her name as he stood before the twin doors tapping his fingers against his crossed arms. “You hate being kept in that room, so it perplexes me as why you’d willingly lock yourself in there.”
“You know why!” He heard her answer from the other side.
“We all have the same bodily functions, my dear,” he stately calmly. “It’s not like I saw anything anyway.”
“Don’t get me started on that!”
“I can understand your embarrassment, my dear, but for all the trouble you put me through yesterday you were still you,” he explained calmly. “I can forget the minor unpleasantries that come with that age – it’s your dwelling on it that makes it remain in memory.”
“Couldn’t you cast a spell instead to make us all forget yesterday?” She asked hopefully.
“Oh heavens no,” he smiled. “I never want to forget how adorably demanding you were.”
“Oh god…” Elle groaned. She’d heard tales of her younger years from several relatives and they were never flattering tales.
“And it was perhaps the first time I was able to impress and mesmerize you,” Mias continued.
He heard her feet quickly tread across the room and the door lock clicked as she released the mechanism. She pulled the door slowly open to expose half of her face. “I don’t need to be doing your ego any favors…”
“It wouldn’t hurt seeing as you usually are quite cold to me,” he pouted.
“I’m the cold one? I’ve had to fetch you for every meal because you can’t pry yourself away from your damn study. I know this is your house: your rules, but you don’t get both your work and time with me. The world doesn’t work like that Mias, not even for you.”
“Oh dear, have I been neglectful?” His tone changed and he put his hand on the door to pry it open further.
“No, and I really wouldn’t care if you were absent from meals at all, but I know that means my sleep will be disturbed then because you seem to be incapable of living with yourself,” she retorted, trying to close the door on him before he could enter, but it was no use since the doors opened inward and gave his side the advantage.
“I don’t like to break when I’m being productive, and it’s not that I can’t live with myself, I want to see you,” he smiled slyly and snaked his arms around her middle before Elle had the chance to put some distance between them.
“You want to annoy me,” Elle corrected him and pushed against his chest to try and keep an appropriate distance apart.
“Because it’s much more fun at this age,” he grinned and pulled her a bit closer.
“You really are obnoxious,” Elle sighed to herself, resigning herself to rest her head against his chest in hopes she wouldn’t encourage him further.
“Should have seen me as a child,” Mias chuckled, bringing a hand up to comb through her hair. He knew better than to push his luck, especially when Elle was feeling less secure than usual.
The day ended peacefully once yesterday was put in the past, though as Mias read silently in the comfort of his chair and Elle paged through her lesson book on the sofa, something about the atmosphere seemed amiss. It’s true Elle didn’t have any memory of yesterday’s events, so perhaps it was only coincidence that the idea came to her in the first place.
She set her lesson book aside and left the sofa to approach the chair’s arm. “Mias…?”
“The Man From Burnt Cove is one of novels you wanted me to read, right?”
“Of course – it’s a classic.”
“It’s written in the more archaic language though… so… could you read it to me?” She asked hesitantly. It seemed so childish to ask it of him. The archaic form wasn’t even that difficult once you recognized the old letters.
He looked up from the book with a small smile on his face as his fingers removed his bookmark. “…Provided you sit on my lap.”
Elle cracked a smile and didn’t protest his conditions. She readily took a seat on his lap and reclined her body against his as he turned to the front page and began the story again.