“What. Are. You?”
Zepheera narrowed her eyes at her captor and
took a long sip of tea, setting her tinfoil cup pointedly on the small coin she
was using as a saucer. She sat to lean back on the cold tile of the kitchen
wall and crossed her arms, steadily meeting the gaze of the man leaning on the
counter to loom over her. She’d lost count of how many times he’d asked that
question in the last five minutes, or asked something similar, but she stubbornly
refused to speak until he talked to her like an equal.
Clearly he wasn’t catching the hint. The
longer she kept quiet, the more determined he seemed. His frown deepened and he
let out a crisp sigh, unintentionally billowing Zepheera’s short dark hair with
his breath. Then he reached behind him and dragged over a chair to sit across
from her, slouching to achieve an angle somewhat closer to the four-and-a-half
inch tall woman’s eye level.
“You’re not clever for remaining silent,
you know,” he pronounced emphatically, his tone dangerously quiet.
“It’s obvious you understand me and that you’re intelligent enough to have
at least some form of communication with which to express thought and
response. Even if that’s not English, even if you’re a mute, I demand
you to tell me what you are.”
Zepheera quirked an eyebrow at him, but
didn’t otherwise move a muscle. She was hardly in a position to bend to his
threats now, he’d have hurt her already if that was his plan for getting the
information from her. As if to prove her point, he huffed again and leaned back
in the chair, crossing his own arms to mirror his miniature captive. The
tiniest smirk tugged at her lips as she smugly lifted her cup for another sip.
Before it could reach her mouth, a sound
echoed from downstairs, one that sent Zepheera’s instincts running high. The
main door of the flat opened and closed, and the stairs began to creak with the
weight of the approaching human.
This voice was all Zepheera had to go by to
determine the temperament of the human drawing near. It was a man, his tone
kind but more than a little annoyed. That was understandable since, given the
brief glance he spared to the kitchen entrance, her captor knew this man.
She took this moment of distraction to make
her move. Tossing her cup aside, she shot to her feet and took off for the side
of the counter closest to the door, slipping behind every instrument she could
until she reached the edge.
“HELP! I’VE BEEN KIDNAPPED BY A
MADMAN–!” she shrieked, cupping her hands into a megaphone to help her
small voice carry, but a pale hand wrapping around her cut her off. Her head,
shoulders, and arms were free of the measured grip surrounding the rest of her,
lifting her away from the ground.
“What–who is that??” Concern
filled the man’s voice as he hurried up the stairs and rounded the corner.
Zepheera’s captor, Sherlock, froze halfway through lifting her to eye level
when the new man came into view.
“What the hell’s going…” The
newcomer trailed off when he noticed what Sherlock had in his grip, and he
stopped to stare. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing, it had to be a trick.
But that notion went flying out the door when the little being spoke.
“Please, I haven’t done anything
wrong!” she implored, relying on the man’s pity much to her distaste.
“Oh, don’t play innocent,” Sherlock
spat, finally losing patience and
bringing her up to his eyes. “I knew you could speak, but you had
to play your games–!”
“Sherlock, that’s enough!”
The borrower and the human turned to stare at
the other man. His look had hardened, trained only on Sherlock.
“John,” said Sherlock steadily.
“You don’t understand–”
“Sod that!” shot back the blond.
“I’m a doctor, you don’t think I understand how incredibly impossible
she is? Believe me, I get it. And what I also get is that she is clearly a
sentient person, and you should not be handling her that way.”
A tense silence hung in the air between the
humans, and Zepheera held her breath as her fate was decided for her.
“What would you have me do then,
John?” Sherlock asked quietly, his voice more subdued than his expression.
John sighed, possibly in relief. “Put
her down. Let me see if I can have a look at her, make sure she’s not
With reluctance, Sherlock lowered her back to
the counter, grumpily stomping off to the far corner of the kitchen.
Newly freed, Zepheera looked up at John. Now
she was right back where she started, though hopefully in hands that were more
aware of her, concerned for her.
“Th-thank you,” she stammered,
nodding gratefully up at John.
The human’s mouth twitched briefly, still unsure of what to make of this situation. “Ah. Don’t mention it.”