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Oct 21, 2021 10:18 PM
Aurene has lost all of her adults
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Aurene never really got to meet her mom. All she has are bright, blurry memories from when she was very, very small. Mostly what she remembers is the blood. There was a lot of it, all falling out from where her mom was ripped open. Aurene didn't realize how much of a bad thing that was at the time, she was too small. And then that was it, she never saw her again.

Her dad she remembers a bit better, he held her and kissed her forehead and called her princess and stood there emptily staring off into nothingness like his heart had been ripped out of his chest. He told her to live well, to have a happy life, and that he was so, so sorry. She's still not entirely sure what he was sorry for, whether it was for her mom or for leaving or something else entirely. She thinks she forgives him, though. He seemed like he was having a very bad time. Uncle Blair said it was a kindness to let him go, and she believes him.

Now Uncle Blair is gone too.

She doesn't know what happened, she had been sleeping. Then there was a rush of noise and Uncle Blair tossed her like she was catching a bird even though she had been sleeping, and yelled at her to run. This didn't make any sense, he was the one that was good at running, and really where was she supposed to run to, 'run' is really a very unspecific directive.

But it seemed like it was important, so she did it anyway, and she made her best guess about where she was supposed to go. The pictures helped. Most of them were dark and scary and had fire, or people in dark scary cloaks but she saw an artful representation of herself diving into a river and that didn't turn the pictures dark and scary. She needed to hold her breath for a very long time, it felt like forever. And then she needed to swim and come up for air in this little nook next to a beaver dam and then go back down and swim some more. It was very specific, she's not used to having her pictures come out so clear and directed. Maybe that was why Uncle Blair didn't explain further. He was very smart like that.

This seems like a bad plan, though, because Aurene has herself the most miserable time of her life. This is admittedly not saying much, because she is very small and hasn't lived for very long, but still. She is cold and shivering and catches fish instead of birds and it's barely any fun at all, and she's scared and alone and spends so much time not breathing, so long until it hurts. Then she has to do it again, over and over. The paintings get brighter as she does it, though, the collage of brilliant color that is her inner world, which is very promising, so she keeps at it. Uncle Blair will be very proud of her, she is so talented.

She spends a whole day on the run, and then when she's exhausted and the pictures don't get any better, even if she keeps pushing, she digs herself a little muddy cave, starting from underwater, going up up up into a hillside nearby. This is probably not necessary, the pictures don't say, but Aurene is a little gremlin and she is very good at hiding. She doesn't want anyone but her Uncle Blair to find her, and he is the best at finding her so she can really just go all out. The pictures also don't say anything about what happens if she cries or not, so she does, because everything is terrible and crying is a very reasonable way to handle that. And then at 8 PM sharp, she falls asleep, hoping that this time when she wakes up her Uncle would have dug her out and scooped her up and then cover her in kisses and take her to go have a bath that's actually warm. You would think that swimming in water would make her clean but no it just makes her more dirty.

But then he isn't there. She wakes up in her little muddy cave under a hill and he isn't there, not in any of the pictures, and she looks for so long. She waits for so long. She catches birds and sleeps in mud and waits for the pictures to change, and then she finally realizes that maybe he can't find her. Not because he wouldn't try, because he would, he said he would and he meant it, she could tell, but. Instead because he is with her parents now. Wherever they are. She can't see any of them, she doesn't know.

And Aurene is alone.

She decides that, actually, she would like to not be alone. It's horrible, it sucks. She much prefers when she had grownups. At least one, but maybe more so they can trade or something instead of going to be with her parents and leaving her alone again.

So she goes looking for new grownups, ones that the pictures say are good. With gold eyes, like Uncle Blair, because she knows what that means and people are not for eating.

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There's one over there! She's attacking a car with a wrench. Constructively enough.

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Okay. She can do this. It is a little scary because there are some things she has to say right at the start, but she knows what they are so she will start with them.

"Hi," says a very small, very dirty little girl that might be four or five, in a voice that only wavers a little. She has mud-soaked curls and pale skin and is definitely not human. "My mommy was a human and my daddy was a vampire, but they're gone. I had an uncle but I think he's gone now too. My name is Aurene, and," the pictures don't say she'll say no but what if she does anyway she's scared, "and, would. You please." Sniffle. "Be my auntie."

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The vampire drops the wrench.

"Oh you poor thing," she coos, scooping Aurene up heedless of mud. "Of course I will. - how did you find me here, sweetheart -"

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Oh good she is scooped she missed being scooped. Aurene clings.

"I um, I have pictures in my head? Uncle Blair said it was something called 'foresight.' And I followed the good ones."

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"Foresight, wow, that's a very cool power," says Rosalie, arranging curls out of Aurene's face. "Let's go get you a bath, first thing, and while you're in the bath I'll turn a shirt into a dress your size, shall I?"

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"Mmhmm," she whimpers. "Thank you, I. Really need a bath."

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Rosalie brings her from the garage to the inside of the house and plops her clothes and all in the tub and helps her out of the muddy things while the water gets to the right temperature and fills up the tub. Once Aurene is situated with a bar of lavender-scented soap and a washcloth and some impromptu bath toys including a wooden bowl once full of potpourri and a stolen ear syringe, Rosalie digs into her closet and starts altering a nice yellow blouse with enough length to it to fit.

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Aurene is a big girl, and so even though she would like it very much if she had help for her bath, it is fine she can figure it out. She is determined and the pretty lady is busy helping already.

There is a lot of mud, but she is in fact capable of scrubbing it all off. She feels much better already, even though not very much has happened.

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The pretty lady comes back once the dress is all sewed up and washes her hair!

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Oh, good! That was the part that was confusing her a bit!! And yay, she does get help after all!

"Thank you," she says, beaming and holding very still. Her hair is red, underneath the mud.

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"You're welcome, sweetheart. Oh, what pretty hair you have!"

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"Thank you! It's the same color as my mommy's. But it grows really long really fast and I don't like that at all! Whenever it gets too long I grab the ends of it and bite them off."

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"Well, next time that happens we can get you a proper haircut instead."

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"Okay! What's one of those like?"

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"You use scissors to make sure all the hair is trimmed at the same length! And then you can put ribbons in it, if you like."

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"Oh! Uncle Blair did that before. The scissors, not the ribbons, I don't think I've ever had ribbons in my hair. They sound pretty!"

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"Then you will have ribbons!" says Rosalie, checking under tiny child toenails and fingernails for mud.

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They do have some residual mud! Not very much, they're very short, and it seems like they have been chewed down instead of clipped.

"Okay!"

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Rosalie has a nail file, actually, for when there's sparring and somebody chips a nail and can't find it on the ground. She fetches that and neatens up little nails.

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Aurene watches with fascination, but does not resist the nail filing. It's weird, but grownups do a lot of fussing, and she absolutely wants to be fussed over right now.

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"There, that's better." She will scrub Aurene's back where she can't reach, and let her play in the water till she's done, then let the bath out and give her a last rinse with fresh water. Here is a fluffy towel.

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Oh man Aurene does not want to play in the water at all, she has had enough time in the water, thank you. Once she is properly clean she looks at Rosalie expectantly and moves on to the Next Step Of The Bathing Process.

The fluffy towel is great.

"Eeeeee," she says, wrapping it around herself.

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"Aren't you just precious!" Scoop. Rub rub rub the towel into those pretty red curls till she is dry enough to try on her new dress.

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"I am a precious little gremlin," agrees Aurene, with clear pride. Dry dry dry yessssss being the center of attention yesssss this is what this small child wanted she picked the best adult.

Okay! Dress.

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The dress fits acceptably. "I'm going to have to take you shopping," Rosalie muses. "My - uh - my family will be home in a few hours, and then once you've been introduced we can nip out to Sears and see what they have."

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