Title: Seven by Seven
Rating: M (For sexual content, violence, adult language, and manipulation)
Betas: At the Writer's Block and Gladrial10
Disclaimer: I own nothing. The owners own. This is for fun, not profit. I've made no money.
Summary: Seven virtues, seven sins, fourteen one-shots. They offer small glimpses into the lives of a very troubled girl and her charismatic master. (Slade/Terra, Slerra)
Author's Notes: Shit went down for me and I wasn't really in the right frame of mind to write for…quite a bit. I was also a little stuck on how the second part of this was gonna go, but At the Writer's Block helped me with my issues. (As always! ...seriously guys, I think she's magic.)
This story takes place a few months into Terra's training, before she is sent on her spying mission or Slade puts any moves on her. And not only is Wintergreen finally onscreen for this chapter, but I get to play with those positive fatherly traits of Slade's that he taps into when he is not being Worst Father of the Year.
Chapter Warning: Deals with bodily fluids, so don't read while eating lunch. I did not mince words in my descriptions.
Sloth - Desire for Rest.
Terra felt so, well..shitty. Sluggish and filled with ick. She didn't want to get out of bed, she didn't want to get dressed, and she certainly didn't want to go train for hours upon hours with Slade.
Her alarm had gone off twice. Wintergreen had been in twice. Slade only had to come in once.
The metal door to her room made an echoing crash as he slammed it open and moved forward, yanking her covers off with one hand and grabbing her right wrist in a crushing grip with the other. Terra kicked uselessly, but still found herself thrown against the wall and held there nearly three feet off the ground, and staring straight into his furious face. She was pinned by both of her wrists on either side of her head and didn't dare make another move. He was already in his armor and he meant business.
"Terra," he spat with outrageous calm. "For the past three months, I have provided you with all of your essentials. I have given you control over your powers. And still, you decide that the small sacrifice of a 6 AM wake-up is somehow optional?" She shook her head frantically, too scared to tear her eyes away from his. Slade's white eyebrows furrowed farther and he leaned in close. "This is unacceptable, apprentice. When I say jump, you say 'how high?' When I tell you to be somewhere at a certain time, you will be there and ready. With goddamn bells on."
A strange sensation was crawling up Terra's stomach and resting in her throat. She attempted to say "yes, sir", but all that came out was a hoarse squeak. Abruptly, he dropped her and she slid down the wall, leaning back against it for support. Her legs weren't working.
"Five minutes. You will be in the training room, dressed and beginning your stretches. Is that clear?"
Struggling to pull herself up, she nodded...and abruptly projectile vomited all over his boots. Horrified, Terra tried to make her way to her attached bathroom, but barely made it away from the wall before throwing up again. Crumbling to the floor, she leaned against her bed with one arm for support and heaved a third time, mumbling thickly afterward, "I think I'm sick".
She was dimly aware of Slade calling Wintergreen on his comm before picking her up and depositing her in frontof the toilet. Clinging to the cool porcelain with both arms like a lifeline, Terra felt it coming again and braced herself. Hands were holding her hair back and she heard Slade say to Wintergreen, "No, I've got her. Just get the other room ready. It doesn't have sheets yet." She heard Wintergreen leave the bathroom...wait, when had Wintergreen entered? Her brain was messing up!
"Slade," she mumbled into the toilet. He didn't answer immediately, so she tried it louder. "SLA-," she couldn't finish, though, because of another round of vomiting. She knew he was there because he was still holding her hair with one hand and the other was on her back. Hugging a toilet in just her camisole and pajama pants, while a supervillain watched calmly, was not how she wanted to die. "I'm dying, Slade," Terra said after finishing, voice muffled by the toilet seat she was pressed against. "This is what dying feels like. I can't...see...my brain is dying too..."
He was laughing then and she felt irritated that her death on a bathroom floor was being taken so casually. "You're not dying, girl." His large, gloved hand was moving in circles near her spine. Did he always touch her this much? "It's just a stomach bug. Get it out of your system and you'll be fine in a day or so."
"I think I puked on your feet," she said wearily, trying to ignore the grossness that was her mouth. "...And your floor."
"Yes, you did."
It was another couple of minutes before she could say anything else, being preoccupied as she was with emptying the seemingly endless contents of her stomach. She was never going to eat spaghetti ever, ever again. Ever. When she had control, Terra gave a very unladylike groan into the toilet bowl and apologized for being sick all over everywhere. "M'sorry for...mess...and...boots," was how it came out, but Slade seemed to understand.
"It's fine, Terra," he said easily, without any hint of the bite he had not ten minutes previous. "Do you think you're done for right now?"
"Ugh, maybe..." She attempted to pull herself up using the toilet as leverage, but found herself slipping down again. "My legs are broke." Strong arms lifted her up by the waist and Terra clung to his body armor like a lifeline, burying her face into the metal and kevlar. "...woozy," she groaned, struggling to open her eyes in order to find out why there was suddenly a water sound. And why her pants were being pulled off. Finding this a very good reason to look down, she immediately regretted it and clenched her eyes shut again. "Oh God, everything is spinning..."
"You have a fever," replied Slade, lifting her up slightly to finish divesting herself of her legwear. Feeling him begin to lift her top off, Terra pushed herself away from him and stumbled right into the bathroom counter. His arm reached for her again, tugging her towards the shower. "Take it off yourself, then. Just get under the water and you'll feel better."
They stood there for a few heartbeats, Terra rubbing her hip where it had hit the counter and Slade staring at her, before he said, "Yell if you start to faint," and finally left.
Though she had to lean against the shower wall a few times, Terra had been able to bathe without tossing her cookies again. She still felt like crap, but at least there wasn't anything in her hair anymore. There was a fresh set of pajamas and underwear waiting for her by the sink; the dirty ones on the floor were gone. Fumbling from her disoriented state, she managed to get everything on after only two tries at getting her foot through the right hole in her panties. They might have even been on inside out, but she was beyond ready to curl up and go to sleep.
The smell of disinfectant greeted her as she sluggishly walked out of the bathroom. Wintergreen had his shirtsleeves rolled up, wearing comically yellow rubber gloves, and was mopping the places on the floor where she had thrown up. "Oh, man, I'm sorry," Terra apologized, bracing herself against her dresser to keep from falling. "I'm so sorry about that."
Wintergreen gave her a smile from beneath his bushy white mustache. "Quite alright, my dear. It's why I'm here, to handle anything that needs doing."
Terra frowned, still feeling bad about it. After all, Wintergreen was the nice one. "You shouldn't have to clean up after me..."
"Maybe not after you, no," he replied with an amused jerk of his head towards Slade, who had just entered the room.
Terra giggled and Slade didn't spare a glance at Wintergreen before saying, "Careful mopping up, there. The elderly are much more susceptible to infection."
The elder in question held his shoulders up, stating proudly, "And I have earned every gray hair, thank you."
Perhaps Slade would have said something else, but he had reached Terra just in time to keep her from sliding to the floor again. The drowsiness had become overwhelming and she looked over at her bed. "My sheets are gone."
"You'll just be down the hall," Slade said, already directing her by the shoulders out of the room.
Evidently, he had just taken his armor off because he was wearing the plain pants and long sleeve shirt that went on under it. "Don't you get hot underneath that AND all that armor?" Terra asked on their way to the other room. She wasn't used to being barefoot on the concrete floor lining the corridor and her feet made odd, hollow smacking sounds when she stepped.
"It's only fifty pounds," he replied. "And it has itsown cooling system, so no."
"Oh," she said. Her eyes were so heavy...why was she so sleepy all of a sudden? "I'm so tired, Slade. Is it the fever?"
"Perhaps somewhat," he said, guiding her towards the twin-sized bed and turning to leave as she climbed beneath the comforter. "Not to mention you've lost a great deal of fluids," he added after flipping the light switch by the doorway.
"Sorry," Terra mumbled yet again, pulling the cold pillow towards her face and breathing in the sterile smell of the bulk detergent that had been used on it. It felt like she was melting into the sheets, a far cry from the days of park benches and caves. The door clicked shut, extinguishing the last sliver of light from the hallway.
She was unaware how long she had been asleep. Twice, maybe more than that, Wintergreen had been in to feel her head and check the trashcan by her bed. She was pretty much still asleep when this happened, opening her eyes very briefly and catching the cuff of his shirtsleeve or the bushy white mustache that was in her direct line of sight. He spoke in deep, soothing tones to say words she didn't understand.
Eventually, Terra opened her eyes for more than two seconds and stared at the blank gray wall, trying to figure out if she wanted to go to the restroom bad enough to get out from under the warm covers. Deciding in time that she did, Terra braved the cold floor on her still bare feet and spent the next three minutes trying to remember exactly what had happened. Most of it was an uncomfortable blur and way too much of it involved sitting on bathroom tile, hugging porcelain.
She tried to recall if she said or did anything more embarrassing than puking all over Slade's boots, but nothing came to mind until she spotted the brown bruise on her hip. She had bumped into the counter before Slade could take her shirt off. Helpfully, of course. She had needed to get in the shower and she was sick, so he was just helping her do that. Just like her pants and…probably her underwear.
Having been in the middle of washing her hands, she froze and stared at the running water. He wouldn't have taken her underwear off, right? Pants were one thing and maybe, in hindsight, she could even see the shirt being justifiable. But her panties? That was just…ridiculous. Yes, it was stupid. He would have turned away once her shirt was off and left her panties alone.
When she opened the door to the bathroom, she was surprised to see Wintergreen waiting for her, holding a bottle, a spoon, and what she assumed was a thermometer. "It is nice to see you conscious, dear," he said with a smile. "I was just coming to give you another dose of your medicine."
"Thanks," she chirped, climbing back onto her bed. "But I don't remember you giving me any before."
"Oh, I've been administering it regularly. You have been asleep for quite a bit."
Her heart did a little flip. How much training time had she lost? She decided to ask before Wintergreen put the thermometer he was readying into her mouth. "How long was I out of it?" She attempted to keep her tone casual, mostly to calm herself.
"A day and a half, roughly," he said, motioning for her to open her mouth and sliding the plastic wrapped tip of the device under her tongue. Perhaps seeing the way her shoulders sank at this, he added, "It's not uncommon with a fever like the one you've had. Rest and fluids are what you need."
She thought about this for the long moment that the thermometer took to determine her temperature. Rest. What a foreign concept. After three months of intense training and schedule, could she really be handed a free pass to not do anything at all? Sure, Slade gave her some free time each day to relax, a few half hour breaks after training and meals, but she was always intensely aware of the time during those. And falling into bed exhausted every night, only to wake up at dawn in order to train, wasn't restful in the least.
Wintergreen withdrew the thermometer after it let out a small beep. "Miss Terra, it seems your fever is almost gone," he said after a glance at the results. "But you will need to give your body time to recuperate."
"So, like, I'm just supposed to hang out here?"
Chuckling, Wintergreen gave an affectionate pat on her hand. "Precisely. Would you like me to bring you anything to keep you occupied?"
Terra didn't need to be asked twice.
By the next day, Terra had read through almost all the articles in her teen magazines, including the advice columns and the cringe-inducing sections filled with insane embarrassments. She had twice gone through the periodical on hiking destinations and the collection of European folktales. Four puzzles in the Sudoku book had been started and abandoned halfway through. And her cassette player's batteries had only run out once, when she had drifted to sleep while listening to one of the tapes she'd found in her days of traveling.
Wintergreen dropped by periodically to check on her and bring her dry toast, rice, or applesauce, which were the only things she was allowed to eat. At first he brought her lots of water, but then he brought her a tea with ginger and some other stuff in it that he insisted she sip slowly. For a few minutes he would stay and chat before going off to "attend to things". Terra had never really received a clear answer on what Wintergreen's exact job was, but he seemed to handle both mysterious errands and everyday tasks around the place with practiced efficiency.
About twenty minutes after Wintergreen had brought her dinner, there was a knock at the door. Terra called "come in" around a mouth full of applesauce, but regretted this when it was Slade who entered. Hastily, Terra swallowed and sat her magazine down, self-consciously sitting up a little straighter and running a hand through her hair.
"Good evening, Terra." He said this casually, and he wasn't in armor, but she decided to play it safe.
"Hello, um, sir." Here he was in front of her and all she could think about was what a wuss he probably thought she was. That and the underwear thing…Oh God! She was thinking about that again! Quickly, she spat out, "I'm feeling better. Uh, now."
"I had heard that from Wintergreen," he replied pleasantly. "Very good news. Though we will have to work on boosting your immune system to prevent a reoccurrence."
There was just something about that last word that hit Terra particularly hard and her mouth began moving on its own. "I'm so sorry about sleeping in and getting sick all over and not training!" Cringing, she stared down at the applesauce on her tray and kept a death-grip on the blanket edge beneath.
She thought she was going to die when he took a seat on the edge of her bed. Now that would make a good entry for the embarrassment pages. Certain to beat out the period mishaps and accidental flashings. "Dear Teen Vibe, I totally threw up all over my supervillain teacher's boots, acted like a complete spaz repeatedly when he tried to help, then died after I fainted and drowned in applesauce with him watching." It was sure to receive a ten out of ten on the disaster level.
"Terra, you can't help being ill. It wasn't as if you purposefully injected yourself with a plague. Then I would be justifiably irritated." Cautiously, she looked up and saw the small smile on his face, returning a nervous one of her own. "And we will resume training when it is appropriate for your body," he continued, blue eye meeting hers in a way that made her nod automatically. "It would be very poor leadership to work you to death rather than just allow you the short time to recover."
"I…I know," she sighed. "I just don't want to, um…disappoint you or anything. Make you think I'm not reliable."
Slade paused for a brief moment and glanced at an empty spot on her white bedspread, before looking back up. "I would like to make a deal with you, Terra. One for the rest of your training. If, at any point, you feel physically ill enough that you seriously don't think physical exertion should be attempted, I want you to tell me rather than potentially injure yourself."
Eyes wide, Terra found her mind blank and could only say, "For real?"
"Absolutely. But," he held up a finger in warning, "I expect you to be mature enough to handle such a claim. Let us not forget the story of the boy who cried wolf."
Nodding like an idiot, Terra felt the babbling bubble up again in her throat and managed to filter it down to, "Thank you, yes sir. Thank you." She had no intention of making him doubt her when she used this golden ticket. And she suddenly felt better than she had in days, just knowing that he wanted her to stay healthy, even if it cost training time.
Suddenly, Slade reached over her legs and plucked up, to her horror, one of the teen magazines that littered her bed. He glanced at the cover, which happened to boast "makeup tips for spring" and "dating dos and don'ts", before dropping it in favor of the European folktales book that Wintergreen had happened to throw in with the rest.
"Had you heard of most of these?" he asked her, flipping through the pages.
She shook her head. "Only some of them, from my bonă. I mean, the nanny, I guess."
"Bineînțeles că vorbesc româna, draga mea," he stated with only a small twinge of his regular accent. "Am avut câțiva clienți care o preferau." It had been a very long time since Terra had heard Romanian, the language she had grown up with, and it gave her an unsettled feeling.
"I don't like to speak it, really," she admitted, trying to keep any deep emotion from her voice. "I prefer English."
"Yes, you are remarkably fluent. Did it take long to lose your accent?"
Terra shrugged. "I already knew English, I just had to work at it. I ended up practicing a lot by repeating things people said, trying to get the pronunciations right. Eventually I sounded pretty okay."
"I see. The benefits of a young mind. Parles-tu français?" Slade asked, still flipping through the book in his hand.
Now that was a language she didn't mind. "En fait, oui," Terra responded, a smile breaking across her face. "Très bien." Markovia, as he was well-aware, shared most of its border with France and knowing both it, plus smatterings of German and Russian, were an integral part of her early education. "Étonnamment, cela s'est révélé très utile par moments."
"Oui, ma jeune apprentie. Je suis sûr de ça." The book snapped shut with a flick of his wrist and he placed it back down, picking up the hiking magazine which had a very picturesque canyon splashed across the cover. "For a young lady so dead-set against activities that don't involve flinging dirt around, you certainly have retained a great deal of your privileged education."
Again Terra shrugged, though she was uncomfortable with the way he kept turning the conversation. "Just sticks around. I like to read and stuff, if that's what you mean."
Slade laid the magazine down and gave her one of those knowing looks that made her think he could read her mind. "As long as the topic interests you, of course."
"Yeah…yes, sir." Was that good or bad? Bad, she guessed.
"You may be here for another day," he said, standing back up and putting his hands behind his back. "With that in mind, I have located several rare volumes on geokinesis and some other more general books on your element."
Terra blanched and blurted out, "You want me to read all those tomorrow?"
"Of course not. But this is as good a time as any for you to begin studying them, don't you agree?" Cheeks burning, Terra nodded. Way to jump to conclusions, idiot. Just like with the shower. "Good. I will bring them by in a half-hour."
"Um, okay. Thanks," she mumbled as he turned to leave, looking back down at her applesauce and trying desperately to ignore the warm spot by her leg where he had just been.
"Oh and Terra?"
Spoon having already been in her mouth again, Terra turned back to him lingering in the doorway and asked around it, "Sir?"
"O să aduc niște gheață pentru vânătaia aia."
She nearly choked on her applesauce after he left.
Romanian, provided by FallenHero93
Bineînțeles că vorbesc româna, draga mea. - Of course I speak Romanian, my dear.
Am avut câțiva clienți care o preferau. - I've had several clients who preferred it.
O să aduc niște gheață pentru vânătaia aia. - I'll bring an ice pack for that bruise.
French, provided by TheMadPuppy and Excuse My Muse
Parles-tu français? - Do you speak French?
En fait, oui. - In fact, yes.
Très bien. - Very well.
Étonnamment, cela s'est révélé très utile par moments. - It has been surprisingly useful at times.
Oui, ma jeune apprentie. Je suis sûr de ça. – Yes, my young apprentice. I'm sure it has.