Pollovic turns to his bride and smiles as the carriage stops in front of the house.
Pametta smiles back.
Pametta: You know, it doesn't seem quite real. I keep expecting to wake up and discover I'm still plain Pametta Doyle.
Pollovic: You're Mrs. Pametta Pollovic now. My wife.
Pametta squeezes her new husband's hand.
Pollovic: And this is where the wedding ends and the marriage begins.
Pollovic adds a reassuring smile.
Pollovic: I'm looking forward to it; aren't you?
Pametta: Yes. Weddings are splendid, to be sure, but I'm looking forward to having time to read a book.
Pametta realizes what she's just said to her husband just before they depart on their honeymoon.
Pametta: Oh, dear. I didn't mean that quite the way it sounded.
Pollovic: There'll be time to read, once we're on the train tomorrow. For tonight, though...
Pollovic: I'm going to sweep you across the threshold in my arms, as a proper bridegroom should. And then...
Pametta: Tonight my book stays packed away.
Pollovic rises as the carriage rolls to a stop in front of the house, and offers a hand to his bride to help her down.
Pametta drops a small hand into her husband's and hops athletically down to the ground.
Pollovic holds his wife's hand as they walk up the steps together. A servant opens the door as they approach.
Saag is relaxing in the well-insulated guest suite that Nick and Katsura used, which he's sharing with Ettil. She's napping, and he's reading a book from Pollovic's well-stocked library.
Naoyu is lying in a gap in a row of bushes, staring up at the sky and trying not to throw up. He can hear people outside in the carriage drive, but feels too lousy to get up and see who they are.
Pollovic braces himself to pick up his bride for the traditional entrance. He isn't as young as he used to be, and Pametta isn't as slender as some women.
Naoyu finds that the idea of coming out now and seeing people feels terrifying, even if he were able to get up. The gap in the bushes isn't perfectly protected, but there are enough leaves surrounding him to make him feel at least somewhat safely hidden.
Pametta throws her arm around his shoulder, helping as much as she can without being too obvious about it.
Pollovic kisses her on the lips, then picks her up with an undignified grunt.
Pametta giggles, then kisses him back.
Saag hears the carriage come around the side of the house and head for the stables and coach house. He intends to stay where he is, and let his sister and her husband carry on. He goes back to reading.
Pollovic feels the slippery fabric of the wedding gown sliding through his arms. He sets her down and braces himself to try again.
Pollovic: Let's give that another go, shall we?
Pametta: Mmmmm, yes.
Pametta throws her arms around her husband and kisses, which is more fun than being carried, anyway.
Naoyu didn't get sick often as a kid, and isn't dealing very well with the feeling of extreme, unrelenting nausea in his gut. He moans in agony.
Pollovic: What was that?
Pametta: I don't know.
Pametta looks around at the bushes, whose shadows suddenly look more ~~ menacing ~~.
Pametta: I think it came from over there.
Pametta starts forward to investigate.
Pollovic: Stay back.
Naoyu hears someone moving towards him and lies stock still with fear.
Pollovic moves past his bride and down the steps. It's hard to see in the dark, but one of the bushes seems to be moving, out of rhythm with the breeze.
Pametta wants to leave her man his pride, but realistically, she's younger than him and probably nearly as strong. She therefore follows him over to the ambulatory bush.
Naoyu tries not to move or make a single sound.
Pollovic reaches out and parts the bushes.
Pollovic: Naoyu? ~~ surprise ~~
Naoyu doesn't have the strength for a full-fledged scream, so settles for making a miserable gurgling noise.
Pametta: Are you hurt?
Pollovic isn't on the closest terms with his next door neighbors, but he knows them well enough to recognize all of their children.
Pollovic: Naoyu, what's wrong?
Naoyu tries to fumble around for words, through the brain-fog of fever.
Pollovic doesn't remember seeing the boy with his family at the reception.
Naoyu: I... help. Don't want...... Don't want....
Pollovic reaches down to take the kid by the hands and help him up.
Pollovic: Don't want what?
Naoyu yelps in pain.
Pollovic lets go.
Naoyu's arms feel kind of like the side of his face did after the school bully beat him up, but all over.
Pollovic: Sorry. What...?
Pametta: Where are you hurt?
Naoyu: Don't... don't tell my parents.
Pollovic: Have you gotten yourself into some kind of trouble?
Pollovic is a little slow on the uptake tonight.
Pametta: He must have. Look at him, the poor boy's shaking.
Naoyu: You have to... you have to get me out of here.
Pametta: Here, wrap my shawl around your shoulders.
Pametta offers a pretty, cream-colored piece of wool.
Naoyu: Take me to... the other country.
Naoyu dimly realizes it sounds like delirious babbling, but can't find the words to say what he means. Or maybe he won't let himself think them.
Pollovic: If you want my help, you'll have to tell me what's wrong.
Naoyu glances at the piece of wool, but can only think of how horrible it would feel against his arms.
Naoyu: I think I'm going to hurt someone. I'm afraid... Don't let my parents know!
Pollovic finally begins to catch on. ~~ startlement ~~
Pametta: Brenn, he's in changeover.
Pollovic: Naoyu, I'm not going to hurt you. But you have to let me see your arms.
Naoyu makes an indistinct sound of utter misery, physical and emotional. He glances desperately at Pametta.
Naoyu: I heard... I heard there are people here. Who can help.
Pollovic: You're looking for a channel?
Naoyu waits for confirmation of the rumors; if it turns out they were false, he's doomed.
Pametta: There are plenty of people who can help you.
Naoyu: Can a channel... help? Can he... make me not hurt anyone?
Pollovic gives a sigh of ~~ frustration ~~ ; if the boy had gone to the wedding, Seruffin could have taken care of him.
Naoyu has only the vaguest understanding of what a channel actually is, although the stories he's heard imbue them with everything from evil witchcraft to benign magical power.
Pollovic: Yes. A channel can help you. We're going to have to get you to where there is one.
Pametta has no idea whether a channel can make changeover stop hurting; Saag didn't say.
Pametta: You'll be safe, so just relax.
Pametta recalls that Saag did say relaxation was important.
Pollovic calls towards the open front door.
Pollovic: Someone go fetch the carriage!
Naoyu swallows, trying to put absolute faith in Pametta's words because it's all he has to hang on to right now.
Pollovic figures if they're quick enough, the horses will still be harnessed up.
Pametta gets an idea.
Pametta: And if my brother is still up, have him come down, if you would.
Pametta still has a bit to learn about ordering around a large household.
Pollovic shakes his head.
Pollovic: No need to bother Saag; he's had a rough day.
Pollovic was not unaware of the cold shoulder Saag was getting at the reception.
Naoyu sits up for a few seconds and starts dry-heaving, his stomach still acting like it wants to be rid of something even though it's empty.
Pametta looks up at the sound of hoofbeats.
Pametta: Good, they didn't unhitch the horses yet.
Pollovic: Easy. Take it easy, Naoyu.
Saag wonders why the carriage is coming back out again. He's a bit restless, but would it be okay to go downstairs and find out? He doesn't want to interrupt anything.
Pametta thinks this is rather ~~ exciting ~~.
Naoyu can't throw up anything more but has a very messy shirt from earlier, when he could, and doesn't smell very good, to put it lightly.
Pollovic: Can you stand up? The carriage is here, and we're going to take you to where there's a channel who can help you.
Naoyu thinks that in theory he could stand, but getting up from his position now would require putting weight on his arms.
Pametta: Here, you take that side, Brenn.
Pollovic nods and moves around to the other side, putting his hand under Naoyu's arm.
Pollovic: On three. One... two... three.
Pametta gives an athletic heave.
Naoyu lies limply in Pametta and Pollovic's grasp, trying to keep his arms from brushing against anything.
Pametta helps her husband walk Naoyu over to the coach.
Pollovic spares an approving glance for Pametta. Already, the two of them make a good team.
Naoyu staggers through the dirt, not feeling very much at all like an evil soul-sucking monster, just really sick.
Pollovic: Now, in you get.
Naoyu flops down into the coach.
Naoyu: I don't want... don't want to be...
Pametta climbs in after the boy to make him comfortable, and vaguely hears her husband arguing with the coachman.
Naoyu has a lot of pure desire to live going head-to-head with what he's been told all his life, that the "good" thing to do if this happens is to ask someone to shoot you as soon as possible.
Pollovic sticks his head into the carriage.
Pametta: Is there a problem, Brenn?
Pollovic: Pametta, could you run in and ask one of the servants for a dog-chain? the one that locks? Rogers doesn't want to travel with an unrestrained Sime.
Pametta: Oh. Certainly.
Naoyu stiffens up instinctively.
Pametta jumps lightly down from the coach, carelessly proving that she didn't really require the help to get down the first time, and runs for the house.
Naoyu: I'm not a Sime!
Naoyu knows that the modifier on that should be "yet," but it feels like a slap to him nonetheless.
Pollovic: You are a Sime, Naoyu. There's nothing wrong with that, despite what you may have been told.
Pametta returns a moment later, panting.
Pametta: Here it is.
Naoyu: I'm still a kid! I'm not yet...
Pollovic: It's only a matter of hours, Naoyu.
Pollovic struggles to remember that pamphlet he glanced at at the Sime Center, about the stages of changeover and how long each one takes.
Naoyu is hanging on to that matter of hours as a very important distinction right now.
Pametta climbs into the carriage, holding the chain out.
Pollovic: And in the eyes of the law, you're already a Sime, so the coachman is perfectly within his rights to refuse to carry you unless you're restrained in some way.
Saag decides to ask a servant what's happening, and comes downstairs.
Naoyu is starting to feel a little faint again. He thinks he must have passed out under the bushes a few times, because at least once he blanked out and came to only to find it was evening.
Pollovic takes the chain, nodding his thanks to Pametta.
Pollovic: Now, I donated less than a week ago, so you're not going to even be tempted to attack me.
Pametta: Yes. We've both donated.
Pollovic isn't, yet, bothered by what he doesn't know about the difference between low-field and no field.
Naoyu notes the certainty in Pollovic's voice and relaxes a little.
Pollovic: So I'm going to... um. No, I can't put this on your wrist. I'll chain our ankles together. Then, if we have to walk, it'll be like a three-legged race. Is that all right?
Pametta: He's going to show the coachman he's got nothing to worry about, because it's true. He doesn't.
Naoyu: O...okay. If you're sure...
Pametta: Of course he's sure. That's why he's a Senator.
Naoyu doesn't know any better than to think this must be a good thing.
Pametta accidentally neglects to mention that being sure isn't the same as being correct.
Pollovic smiles his thanks at his wonderful wife. Smart, confident, reliable. He chose well, indeed. He snaps one end of the chain around his own ankle first, then the other around Naoyu's.
Saag gets a garbled explanation from a footman and hurries to the front door. Pollovic can't really be taking Pametta along with him and an incipient berserker in a carriage, can he? Why didn't he get Saag and Ettil down to advise him?
Naoyu feels sleepy and begins to drift off again.
Pollovic raises one hand to bang on the roof. At his signal, the carriage lurches into motion.
Saag reaches the door in time to see the carriage pass out the front gate. He can't chase it without his retainers on, or he could get shot.
Naoyu feels safer in the dark, enclosed carriage, even if not as safe as he felt in the bushes, and passes out quietly, involuntarily leaning against Pollovic's shoulder.
Saag is terrified that his sister is going to be killed, but can't think what he can do about it.
Pollovic glances ruefully at Pametta.
Pollovic: Not quite the wedding night you'd been expecting, is it?
Pametta gives a quick grin.
Pametta: No, but think of all the stories we'll be able to tell our children!
Pollovic: I promise I'll make it up to you later.
Pametta: I'll hold you to it. Now, there's a blanket over there. Let's make sure our charge is comfortable.