One night not too long after Iris took her things from the cottage, Puck sensed something out of the ordinary. It was coming from Iris's room. Frowning, he went to her room and knocked on the door. There was no answer, but he could hear her moaning.
"Iris?" he called softly, opening the door.
Iris was tossing and turning in her sleep. All of the blankets had been kicked off the bed and a pillow had found its way in front of the wardrobe. She was sobbing brokenly while she fought off some unseen assailant.
Puck zipped over to the bed. "Iris!" he called. He shook her to no avail. Iris took a swing at him, giving him a good thump in the ribs. "Iris!" he called again a little louder. "Iris, wake up!"
"No," she moaned. She fought harder, thrashing wildly. "No. No. No!"
"Iris!" Puck muttered a curse and pulled her from the bed.
"Let go!" screamed Iris.
"Iris, it's me! It's Puck!"
A blast of magic from Iris sent Puck clear across the room. He quickly got up to see Iris sitting up on her own, her eyes open.
Good, he thought. She's awake now.
Upon closer inspection, Puck saw that maybe Iris wasn't awake at all. Her eyes, now a deep violet color, were vacant of all thought and emotion. Iris began to go through the motions of pulling the sheets back, though there were none there, and swung her legs over the side of the bed. She got up and walked over to the small desk. Puck slowly moved to Iris's side. She had picked up a pencil and was drawing something on the cover of a notebook. Looking over her shoulder, Puck watched as she drew what appeared to be the letter I with a circle cutting through the stem. Iris was just finishing up drawing a flame in the circle when she dropped her pencil and fell back into Puck's arms.
"Iris," whispered Puck, not really talking to her, but wondering out loud, "what is this? Is it something you saw while you were a prisoner?"
Iris moaned in her sleep. Puck quickly put her back to bed, covering her with a sheet. He was going to leave, but decided to stay. He kicked off his boots and got into bed beside Iris. She immediately moved over so she was up against him. Iris's skin felt like it was burning. Puck looked at the window and waved his hand. The curtains parted and the window opened to allow some cool air in.
Puck could feel Iris trying to push her magic into him to draw on some of his own. He allowed it, hoping it would make her feel better. After a few moments of staying completely still, he noticed that she wasn't drawing on his magic at all. Iris was only pushing a little of her magic into him.
Instead of drawing on it, she's only been getting close to it, Puck thought in awe. She doesn't need it, but she goes to it like a moth to a flame. Except from her first few nights here when I was healing her, she's never taken any of it.
Puck kissed Iris's brow and closed his eyes for a few moments.
In the morning, Iris woke up to a still asleep Puck. She slipped out of the circle of his arms and pulled the sheet up around his shoulders. She got dressed and looked over at the small desk. And her drawing from last night. Iris let out a gasp and leaped away from the desk. Old memories resurfaced unwantedly. Iris covered her ears feebly as she heard the shouts from the people who attacked her. She remembered being pulled from her bed in the middle of the night and taken to that accursed, rat-filled cell.
Something pulled at her hands. Someone was shouting. Iris tried to block it out, not knowing it was Puck yelling at her to snap out of her stupor.
"What is going on in here?" Fox asked from the door. She had been alerted to the room by Iris's screams and Puck's shouting.
"I don't know!" shouted Puck, tugging at Iris's hands to pull them away from her ears so she could hear him. "She just started screaming."
Fox came in and held Iris still while Puck tried to get through to her again. They managed to get one hand away from one ear. Iris heard Puck's frustrated yells and was immediately brought back to the present. They allowed her to sink to the floor and catch her breath before asking any questions.
"Iris, are you all right?" asked Fox.
Iris, shaking as if she was sitting in snow, turned to Fox with that brownish-orange gaze. "No," she replied in a hoarse whisper. "I don't think I'll ever be all right."
"What caused this?" asked Puck.
"I looked over and saw their mark," Iris said. "I panicked. I thought they were coming back for me again."
"What mark?" asked Puck.
Iris gulped. "The one on the book cover." She pointed to the small desk.
Puck began to get up. Iris grabbed a gold cuffed wrist. "It's all right," Puck said gently. "I just want to see it."
Iris let go of Puck and he picked up the notebook she drew on last night. "This?" he asked. Iris nodded, turning away. Puck understood she couldn't look at it without remembering what they did to her. "Iris, last night you were sleepwalking. You drew this while you slept. What is it?"
Iris trembled, burying her face in Fox's shirt.
Fox stroked her black hair. "We can't help you if you don't tell us," she said.
"It's their mark." Iris swallowed hard. "Their insignia."
"The ones who took you," said Puck.
Puck put the notebook down and returned to Iris's side. He took her from Fox and bid her to meet his gaze. Her eyes were still that brownish-orange. "Iris, you are safe here. You don't worry about them. They will not come here."
"It would be a good idea if you could stay in human form," said Fox. "It keeps Puck here out of the everyday eye. No one suspects him to be the famous trickster."
"She's right," said Puck. "It would be wise to reprise Whitney Dawson."
Iris nodded. "Okay," she whispered.
Puck smiled and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. This instantly chased the brownish-orange color of her eyes away and replaced it with a rich indigo. Iris smiled shyly.
There was a flash of green light. When the light faded, Iris was gone and a young woman took her place. She was a little taller than Puck with sun kissed skin, bright blue eyes, and chestnut hair that hung in little ringlets at her shoulders. She wore a denim jumper dress with an emerald green T-shirt and a pair of black ballet flats.
"Is this okay?" she asked. Her voice was earthier than Iris's whisper.
Puck raised an eyebrow. "So this is Whitney. I don't think those mortals will know it's you, sweetheart."
"That's the point," said Whitney.
Puck spun around and returned to Owen. "I have work that needs to be done," he said. "Excuse me."
Whitney turned to Fox. "I guess I have to start working as well."
Fox smiled. "You keep cooking like you do and I can't say anything. Alex ate green beans the other day without a fuss. That in itself is a job."
Whitney laughed and skipped off to the kitchen.
A new start, Iris thought. A new home. And the best part: they are not going to find me this time.
This is how I am ending it. I plan on continuing it when I introduce new characters and who "they" are. It's a lame ending, but it keeps you interested, doesn't it?