Teaser Tuesday again! This scene takes place right after Behzad's stayed up all night. She's been talking with her Familiar when her brothers' barge in. Enjoy! (Also, I will get a summary of this story up, within the week, before my life is taken over by school again.)

“What,” she croaked out. “What are you two doing up?”

If possible, Adil’s brow rose higher.

“Fajr,” he said matter-of-factly. She stared.

“You know,” he continued. “The dawn prayer.”


“Oh,” she said.

“Definitely awkward,” Annahya chuckled. The last time that Behzad had been in a masjid was May. The last time she had prayed? When she was eleven. She knew Mihangel prayed. But then Mihangel did everything he was supposed to.

She was her father’s bastard child. Even if he had been Muslim, she doubted he would have prayed regularly, if at all.

“So what crazy psycho is messing with your head?” Ali asked, taking a hesitant sip from her coffee. “And is that why you’re up?”

She eyed him for a minute before taking the mug from him and taking a gulp.

“I’m up because I never sleep,” she responded, and dropped her cigarette into the ash tray. “Want one?”

He took the proffered cigarette and the lighter.

“Adil?” He put up his hand as if to fend her off and shook his head.

“He smokes to cope. I don’t need to cope. I deal.”

“I didn’t ask for why,” she muttered. “So damn snippy.”

“Isn’t he?” Ali grinned and took a drag. “Damn, I needed that.”

Annahya scooted back hastily, moving out of the way before he sat on – or through – her. “So you don’t sleep?” Adil asked, taking a seat next to his brother. “Ever?”

“I dose every now and then,” she said dryly.

“Hmm.” He frowned and leaned forward, his legs swinging over the edge of the table. “Interesting.”

“Not really,” Ali chuckled. Adil grinned tucking a stray hair behind his ear. They had the same hair, curly and black. But where hers was long, his was cropped short and held at the nape of his neck. Ali’s was a mess that seemed to defy control, falling around his face.

“Tried pills?” Ali asked, leaning back and blowing out a stream of smoke.

“The old man won’t let me. Says I have a problem with addiction.” That didn’t bother her. Much. She didn’t want sleep. Sleep meant nightmares and demons and terrifying half faces that she knew but couldn’t digest.

What she wanted was to forget everything. The kidnapping. The four years. The six months that she’d spent on the run. She wanted to pretend that she was twelve years old again and could spend her days running through the woods, being chased by her father. She wanted warm fires and good books and thinking she was special.

You don’t always get what you want.

She put the cigarette out and hopped off the table, heading for the coffee machine.

No. You definitely didn’t get what you wanted.

“Do you have an extra mug?” Ali asked. He looked hopeful, a shy smile lighting up his features, cigarette dangling from between chapped, thin fingers.

Guilt reared up in her throat, blocking it, swelling like a tumor. Ali didn’t care that she wasn’t twelve anymore.

“I, uh, I,” she gestured dumbly to the china cabinets. “I’ve got goblets.”

He shrugged. “Sounds good.”

“I’ll have one, too,” Adil said. He had scooted back until his spine was pressed up against the glass. His bare feet stuck out over the edge, at the end of long, thin legs. They knocked together haphazardly, moving to some silent rhythm in his head.

“Sure,” she said, turning away quickly. The pot was filled to the rim with coffee. The china cabinet was locked and after a moments consideration she broke the lock, twisting the delicate looking knob sharply.

“Won’t someone be angry?” Ali asked. She glanced over her shoulder – he was puffing nervously again.

“Stop doing that,” she replied. “You look like a fish. And no. They expect me to be a crazy bitch.”
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