Anyway, here's the next chapter. Thanks a million to my fabulous beta pinkegogirl, who has faith in me even though she doesn't hear from me in ages. You rock, girl! Also to anyone still reading this: I admire your patience. Usual warnings apply, blah blah (I don't have the whole thingy on this comp). This chapter rated PG.
ETA: Argh, no more time! Can someone link this at Domlijah, please?
Elijah woke up the next morning, feeling sated and happy and at peace with the world, replaying all the events of the previous night in his mind. He was almost reluctant to open his eyes, in case he found out that it had all just been a spectacular dream.
Then he realised he couldn’t feel his legs, which was quite odd, because he didn’t think the effect of the (great, fantastic, mind-blowing) orgasm Dom had given him would last as far as the morning after. So he opened his eyes.
Something huge, ginger and hairy was lying across his thighs like a deadweight, cutting his legs off from blood supply. Screwing up his eyes Elijah distinguished the warm mass atop him as the biggest, fattest cat he had ever seen in his life. It lay there, straddling him and staring insolently at him, not stirring even when Elijah sat up to retrieve his glasses from the bedside table.
As the world swam into focus, Elijah’s eyes found the cat still studying him with an expression of bored haughtiness on its face. A soft meow from behind its huge bulk revealed a smaller cat, which was grey and lying on his feet, though Elijah did not feel them at all.
“Will you get off?” he said to the fat cat, and tried to move his hips, but to no avail. The animal did not move, and for a moment it almost seemed as if it was smirking at him.
Elijah’s legs were completely numb. How could any cat, even one so ridiculously fat as this one, be this heavy?
He tried again to shake it off, failed, and glared into its face, noticing for the first time the very unusual eye-colour the animal had. Did cats normally have dark grey eyes? No wait, they were actually blue. No, green.
Wait a second.
“Dom, you fucker!” he groaned, falling back onto the pillow, covering his eyes.
The fat cat let out an insane cackle of glee, and Elijah uncovered his eyes just in time to see the change: the cat seemed to stretch, then change shape; the hair retreated back into the skin; the ears drooped from the top to the side of the head; long fingers grew from the paws; the facial features rearranged themselves in the blink of an eye; all in a few seconds. And then there was Dom sitting on top of him, his hair still gingery and his teeth still feline as he grinned like a true Cheshire cat.
“I can’t feel my legs,” mumbled Elijah, still in awe of the change.
Dom shifted to sit beside him, rubbing said appendices back to life, and leaning close to him to whisper: “I thought you said you liked my weight on you.”
Elijah grimaced and was about to come up with a snarky reply, when a soft giggle made him crane his head and discover that the grey cat had disappeared, and that Tara was sitting in its place. He thanked the heavens that he had not uttered any words in reply to Dom; anything he would have said would not have been at all suitable for a ten-year old to hear.
“Good morning,” he said instead, reaching for her to come closer. “What are you two up to? Apart from trying to murder me in my bed, that is.”
Tara giggled again. “I’m showing Dom my practices.”
Elijah turned to Dom, eyes questioning. Dom pulled Tara into his arms. “That’s right, she is. And she’s been practising like a very good girl. Shall we show Elijah some, sweet?”
Tara nodded and slid off his lap, standing in the scarce space between Elijah’s bed and the wall, and looked at Dom expectantly.
“Okay,” said Dom, tapping his chin in thought, “polar bear!”
Tara closed her eyes and her body transformed; white hair burst through her skin, her nose protruded into a
snout, her fingers withdrew and claws pushed out, her ears moved higher up, and a moment later (though the
change took much longer to perfect that Dom’s, Elijah noticed) a snow-white, rather small polar bear stood
The hair disappeared and was replaced by feathers, the snout became a beak, the figure shrank, and moments
later they were looking at a penguin, though a slightly odd-looking one.
Elijah frowned, but Tara followed the order without question, and her ewok was in fact much more life-like than the penguin had been.
The ewok’s hair disappeared again and it stretched until it was Dom’s height, the face transformed into an
almost unnaturally smooth one, two blobs of hair appeared where the ears should be, and not even Harrison
Ford would be able to tell the difference between Tara and the real thing. Dom definitely had too much influence on her.
“Dude, lay off the Star Wars!” laughed Elijah as Princess Leia sighed audibly.
Dom smirked good-naturedly at him and stood up to admire Tara’s work, walking around her. She followed him with her eyes and something shimmered on her skin, but Dom held up his hand sternly. “Hold it… hold onto it… try and stay where you are, Tara.”
“I can’t!” she said in a pained voice, and something blue-grey began to shine through Leia’s flawless skin as she fought the change. “It’s difficult!”
“I know it is, now, but it’ll get easier. If you practice hard, you’ll soon be better at it than me, you’ll see!”
But despite Dom’s encouraging words, Tara was slowly losing her grip on the façade, and presently she shrank back to her undefined form.
“It’s not easy at all, Dommie!” she said, looking defeated.
Dom sighed and kissed the top of her head, then tapped her nose with a forefinger. “Watch this.”
He grabbed Elijah’s hand and pulled him up, so that they were standing opposite each other, inches apart. He stared intensely at the younger man, who felt slightly anxious about what Dom was about to demonstrate on him, but then he gasped as Dom’s eyes grew wider, his nose straight and pointed, his crooked mouth pulled itself straight and his hair and eyebrows darkened. After less than five seconds Elijah found himself looking at an exact image of himself, as if he was looking into a mirror.
“See?” said Dom to Tara, who now stood on the bed beside them. Elijah took a moment to appreciate the
weirdness of that familiar voice coming from his own mouth. “Now you try.”
Tara hopped off the bed and stared at Elijah for a moment, before she stretched herself to their height again and took on his appearance. Now Elijah was looking at another copy of himself, though with noticeable mistakes this time. But Dom, after all, knew the structure of his face and body a lot better, and had had more time to study it.
And boy, had he.
At that moment there was a knock on the door, and it opened to reveal Síobhan, peering curiously inside. To her credit she did not even blink at seeing the three Elijahs standing beside the bed, though she did chuckle when Dom stepped forward, contorting Elijah’s face into a pained grimace, and declared in an admirable imitation of Elijah’s voice that he thought he might be having an identity crisis.
“All right, triplets, breakfast time!” she said, reaching for Tara without even having to look if it was really her daughter.
Tara clapped her hands and ran to her mother, Elijah’s features dissolving as she went. At the door
she turned around and beckoned. “Come on, Lijah, we’re having pancakes because it’s Saturday!”
“Ooh, really?” Elijah took the little outstretched hand in his own. “Mmm, that sounds lovely. You lead the way, then.” He winked at Dom over his shoulder.
“Go on,” said the older man, making shooing motions. “Síobhan’s cooking waits for no man, and her pancakes
are delicious. But after that it’s straight back to practising, young lady!” he added somewhat louder, addressing Tara.
The younger Changeling turned around in the doorway and seemed to grimace. “Do I have to, Dommie?”
“Yes,” said Dom firmly. “Elijah and I will be leaving before noon, and there’s something new I’d like to practice with you first. And don’t you make that face at me, missy!”
Elijah wondered how on earth Dom could tell when Tara was making faces at him.
The young man was pleased to find that Dom had not been exaggerating about Síobhan’s pancakes; they were
indeed delicious, and almost exactly like the ones his mother used to make for him on Sundays, back home.
Having lived away from his family for over two years now, the bouts of homesickness had come to him less and less, but only to strike back with double force at the most unexpected times, such as right now. All of a sudden Elijah found it extremely hard to swallow his mouthful of pancake, blueberry and syrup, as the taste and smell transported him back to a roomy kitchen in Los Angeles, his sleepy mother standing behind the stove in her dressing gown as his father and brother rushed in all fresh and breezy after their morning training session, full of tales about all the exciting passes and saves they’d made today, about which neither Elijah nor his mom were very curious at such an hour, but which they would listen to anyway.
Tara’s cheerful chattering, in which she only ever paused to take sizeable bites of her pancake, ceased abruptly, and Elijah looked up from his reverie to see everyone staring at him: Sean bemused, Síobhan and Dom worried, and Tara slightly disconcerted.
The little Changeling stared at him, her eyes wide and a pearly, misty white for the moment, her shape dark grey and a bit blurred at the edges. “Lijah?” she said in a thin voice. “Did I do something? What’d I do? I’m sorry! Please don’t be sad!”
It was only then that Elijah realised he’d been staring straight at her, or rather over her, his emotions rather plain to read for someone so tuned to it as a Changeling was. The fact that she immediately assumed that she was the cause of his distress made him also feel guilt on top of his embarassment at having been caught out.
He blinked hastily a few times and swallowed his, by now cold, bite, then tried to smile reassuringly at Tara. “No honey, you didn’t do anything. I was just…”
“Is it the pancake? Is it too hot?” asked Síobhan.
“No, no, it’s absolutely perfect, really,” said Elijah, smiling up at her. “It was just that it reminded me of… of things.”
“Home,” said Dom, being the fucking mind reader he could be sometimes. His face was rather inscrutable, and
he averted his (brown) eyes to carefully spear a piece of his pancake.
“Do you miss your mam and dad, Lijah?” asked Tara, reassured now that she had not done anything to
discomfort him. “Are they far away from Hogwarts?”
“Yeah, they are,” murmured Elijah, looking at the tablecloth and then back up at her. “And yeah, I do miss them, but not as much as I used to. Being here with you reminded me of them, I guess.” He tried to smile but didn’t wholly succeed, and lowered his gaze to the tablecloth again, starting when Tara climbed up on his lap and cuddled close.
“I’m sorry you’re so far away from home, Lijah.”
“Don’t be silly,” said Elijah, putting his arms around her small, frail form. “I just miss my family, that’s all. But I don’t miss home, because my home is here now, see?”
These last words he directed specifically to Dom, who looked up from his plate after a moment, his lips curled into a sheepish half-smile and his eyes a brilliant blue.
Later, as they made their way back to Tara’s room for more practising, Dom drew level with Elijah in the hallway, secretly planting a quick kiss behind his right ear and squeezing his hand as he passed him.
“Now Tara,” said Dom as he closed the door of the little girl’s room behind them (Tara having given Elijah
permission to stay and watch). “I want to teach you something new today, and I want you to practise that to show me when I come again, okay?”
Tara nodded gravely at him. Elijah made himself comfortable on the bed, curious about what he was going to be seeing.
Dom glanced around the room for a moment, frowning, then opened Tara’s wardrobe and carefully extricated
the dressing mirror from its door, setting it against the wall opposite Elijah. “This will play a very important part in the process,” he explained. “Keep it in sight at all times. Go on, stand here.”
Taking Tara’s shoulders in his hands, he guided her to stand directly in front of the mirror. Tara winced and turned away from her reflection at once.
Dom gently set her in front of it again. “You don’t have to look now, love. Close your eyes.”
Tara did as she was told, and Dom released her shoulders, moving to stand beside her. “Now, I want you to
relax, and not think of anything. Deep breath.”
Elijah watched as the little girl sighed deeply, her form going oddly blank, the change so slow it was almost imperceptible. Dom smiled and pressed a finger to his lips. Just watch, his eyes said.
“I want you to think of your Mam, Tara. Picture her in your head. Can you do that?”
He needn’t have asked; Tara had already turned into a smaller-sized Síobhan.
“Think of the things you like best about her,” he continued. “The things you think are pretty about her. What you love to look at.”
Elijah saw some things grow more pronounced, others fading a trifle, as Tara thought of that. But Dom was not finished yet.
“Now think of your Dad, and what you like about the way he looks. Just those things, nothing else, okay?”
Once again there were suble changes: the shape of the mouth, the cheeks, the chin. The eyes and nose
however remained Síobhan’s, just like the hair and the shape of the face.
“And Tara,” said Dom. “I want you to think of other things you find pretty about people, no matter who they are.”
Instantly Tara’s hair turned from Síobhan’s reddish colour to Dom’s streaked blond and auburn style, and grew longer and more curly. Her skin lightened ever so slightly to resemble what might just be Elijah’s complexion, her eyebrows arched a bit more.
“All right,” said Dom softly after a while, “open your eyes.”
The younger Changeling’s now almond-shaped eyes opened and focused on the mirror; she gasped at the sight
of herself. Because there, in front of her, stood a pretty little girl in a nightgown, blinking back at her from the mirror in a bemused sort of way before the face broke into an incredibly brilliant smile: Sean’s smile.
“Oh Dommie!” she cried. “I did it, look what I did, look!”
“I’m looking, love,” said Dom, smiling proudly. “You couldn’t possibly tear me away from such a pretty sight.”
The little girl continued examining herself in delight, but even as she did so her features began to blur again. Her happy expression disappeared. “No!” She reached out for the mirror as if wishing to grab the image before it fled from her.
“Focus, Tara,” came Dom’s soothing voice. “Think of what I taught you about staying where you are. Remember
what you just did. You can do it again, I know you can. Concentrate.”
Tara closed her eyes again, and Elijah watched as she slowly changed back again, slight differences smoothing out as she thought of them. Soon the little girl of before was back in front of the mirror, and she carefully opened one eye to check.
“Very good, sweet,” whispered Dom. “See, you’re doing it. I told you that you could.”
In response, Tara turned from the mirror and threw her arms around Dom’s waist. He laughed softly and
threaded his fingers through her streaked curls, before gently taking her shoulders again and kneeling before her. “This is what I want you to practise, okay? If you do it every day in front of the mirror, it’ll get easier each time. And when you’ll go to Hogwarts, you’ll be so good at it no one will see the difference. Deal?”
“Deal!” said Tara, before leaning forward and kissing him on the nose. “Thank you, Dommie.”
“That’s what big brothers are for, yeah?” Dom kissed her back.
Tara turned to Elijah, beaming all over her new face. “Did you see, Lijah, did you see? What do you think?”
“I think it’s absolutely brilliant,” he replied in sincere honesty. “You look so beautiful.”
She giggled girlishly, and for a moment she could almost be just an ordinary, human ten-year old.