A/N: Putting my other story on hold for a bit to complete this small one-shot story. I don't see it going farther than maybe ten to fifteen chapters but we'll see.
Chapter One: Life
I don't know how I had done it. I don't know how he came to be.
But in one moment I was alone…
…and in the next, there was Aneirin.
I was working on my homework that day, on a project for our Alchemy class. It wasn't that difficult and we were given a month to complete it. I stupidly left it to the last minute and rushed through the steps without a second thought.
The project was to create a homunculus. A tiny creature born from magic and will itself. In the past, one could create a homunculus with certain… gross ingredients. But through the years this changed for the Magi as they perfected the arts of creating something out of nothing. Through will itself, we were able to create lifeforms with just a few simple ingredients, and the blood we carried.
Once I finished the project, having cleaned up all the ingredients I bought from the shop, I stepped back to admire my work. Creating something out of nothing was the usual for students at the Blackquill Institute for the Gifted, but doing so in just a few hours time should have been a record for me. I managed to make a small incubus for the homunculus we were aiming to create. My professors would see the rushed job, and by now they had become accustomed to it so I wasn't too worried, though part of me had wondered if they would notice the extra steps I made out of my own hurriedness.
Either way, it didn't look half bad and I was free from the task. Free to veg out on my bed and await for something new to happen.
My room back at Blackquill was nothing special. I had a bed, a large closet, and a desk where I could finish my homework. The only thing I had where the others didn't was my own bathroom and shower, but that had been purely luck of the draw. Some students had roommates but since my father owned the academy I managed to have some leeway and got myself my own room. That was fine with me. I enjoyed the silence.
Plus… I wasn't too popular with the other girls in my dorm.
Everyone had their own thing. Some girls went out to party, others went to drama class and had the world watching them. My thing was just keeping to myself to save me from embarrassment. I was already lanky and weird-looking, my dark hair scraggly from never brushing it properly. It didn't help that I pushed people away much too often, but I had my own friends.
There was Zeke, Caroline, and Joshua of course. Most of them gravitated towards me for reasons I didn't understand. I never managed to push them away though, so I guess I was stuck with them throughout my time at school.
Then there was my older brother, Caleb. The star of the family, and the school sports team. I didn't know which one anymore. He played them all so many times I stopped asking which games he was playing a long while ago. I would have rather just stuck to my own classes and stay out of his way.
Of course… that wasn't how he worked.
Right after I finished my homunculus project, having walked over to my bed for a snooze, who else but Caleb had to come around and make me jump by scaring me at my window.
That day had been more memorable than I think now.
After shrieking, and making him laugh, I pushed on his face out of anger.
"What the hell, Cay!" I demanded from him.
He just laughed at my overreaction, climbing in through the window. "Calm down, Celeste! I just wanted to make sure you're still alive! I remember completely screwing up my homunculus project at your age and having my bedroom explode on me."
I let out a growl at his assumption that I would rush so much I would nearly die from such an easy project. "For your information, I managed to create a perfect incubus for what will soon be the best homunculus to grace this earth! So there!"
"Okay, alright," he humoured, looking over the incubus with a questioning gaze, "but shouldn't you maybe put in a pool for the little guy? I mean, as soon as he's born and everything…"
"Professor Corden made it pretty clear they won't last above a month. It's just the incubus we needed to create, and create it I did! I had to buy some other supplies to get the creature going though."
"You sure that's wise?" Caleb questioned, poking at the small, rounded device. "I mean… there's a reason we can't mix up a combination of ingredients. Surely your profs told you that."
"It's just some growth serum to get the thing going. We were supposed to start this a month ago and have a homunculus growing by then… but of course I put it off too late and it's due by Friday."
"Wow, cutting it close don't you think?"
I merely shrugged at the thought. "I've done worse. Now, tell me why you've felt it necessary to sneak up into my room with your magic instead of simply just knocking on my door?"
"You know how the rules are!" He had replied in a chipper tone. "Brother or not, no boys allowed in the girl's dorms. Lest we want the mistresses having a word with either of us."
"You still could have just sent me a text or a letter." I reminded him, sitting down at my bed. "Even if you did knock at my door, I doubt you'd get in trouble being who our father is."
"Bah! You know dad! He's as much a stickler for the rules as the other professors are here. He'd probably think I was here for something else entirely."
I remember rolling my eyes at his outright lie. "Cay, I know you're here for Alyssa."
"Well, that's just a bonus." He admitted, heading for my door to listen through it. "So is she here?"
"No, and I'm not helping you try to get a date out of her. You know I'm not good with words as is, and I don't know the first thing about trying to get a date out of someone. The most action I've gotten is that weird guy you hang around with all the time who hoots at me like I'm begging to be taken to bed."
"Ew, yeah. Forgot about him. I'll make sure to throw a punch his way next time I see him." My brother promised, still listening at the door. "But you should still try to make some more friends here. You're seventeen now and you still hang around those three guys you met in middle school."
"Because they're nice to me and I choose to keep them close." I reminded him, leaning my head on my hand. "Now would you please go so I can sleep? I've had a long day."
Caleb laughed at my chagrin, scratching behind his mop of messy, light-brown hair. "Fine, fine, but remember to feed your homunculus. He won't grow big and strong if you don't help him out."
"I believe I told you they won't last for more than a month." I reminded him, yet again, then stood from my seat. "But you're right that I'll have to feed him. What exactly would that be exactly?"
Caleb had continued to scratch his head, shrugging off the question. "Not sure really. Mine died in two hours after it came about." He then looked into the oval incubus, letting out a smile. "Looks like yours is coming about on his own though! Check it out!"
I rushed over to his side, looking into the incubus to see a tiny creature begin to form in the clear liquid I had made not three hours ago. I had been told by the shop owner, an elderly woman who was used to me doing homework at the last minute, that the growth serum would help me create a homunculus faster than anticipated but would probably not last too long.
I didn't need him to last, but I certainly needed proof I could create one.
Caleb chuckled at the tiny creature forming in the glass-like bubble. "Well, looks like you're a mommy today!"
I shoved the man back, smiling though since this was a big accomplishment. The only thing I had to do now was feed him properly.
I had grabbed my textbook then, flipping through the pages to find out what homunculus ate. In doing this, I came across a page that read they needed a steady diet of human blood. This was a bit frightening, but it was the only thing I could find on the matter.
I pat my brother on the shoulder. "Alright, if you're going to stay you're going to help." I then handed him a needle. "Feed my poor child before he starves."
"Ha! You're insane! Your baby, your blood. That's the deal."
It took a moment to get a good prick onto my finger before a bead of blood came out, making Caleb turn away, and I let the bead drip from my finger and into the incubus. It made the clear water red for a moment before it seemed the creature inside stole it up and moved a bit at the newness in his cage.
I cleaned off my wound, smiling at my brother and turning from my project. "See? Nothing to it! Now, if you would kindly leave so I may…"
"Uh, Les?" He interrupted fearfully, stepping back from my desk. "Is this supposed to happen?"
I looked back at the incubus and found it clouding over a bit, steam rising from the hole in the top where I could feed the homunculus. It didn't take long before it started hissing with the steam, the glass cracking as it began to rock to and fro.
"What the hell!?" I nearly screamed, taking the container into my hands. "What's going on here!?"
"Celeste, throw that thing out the window, now!" Caleb demanded.
I ignored him, looking into the container to try and see what was going on. The only thing I could see, however, was a large clump of flesh where the homunculus once was.
"What in god's name…"
Caleb grabbed me by the arm, making me drop the container, pulling me away from the scene and erecting a medium sized dome around the incubus right before it shattered completely and a loud boom was heard from it. If there was one thing I could be happy about with my brother, it was that he was a quick thinker and fast on his draw. He had always been good with the elements, though he still needed work with his other academics.
We both did.
Caleb snickered once things looked to be alright. "Man, good thing I came along or you might be dead right now."
I scoffed at his words. "Maybe severely injured, but I doubt I'd be dead." I let out a groan then. "Looks like I gotta start over again. I wonder what went wrong."
"Well, at least your bedroom is in one piece." He lowered the earthy shield from the broken case. "I'll take you to the stores again and we'll get started…"
We both stepped back in shock. What we thought to see was far from what lay in front of us.
And if I didn't feel so tired as it was, I might have thought it was a dream.
In the middle of the floor, covered in the liquid and glass that was once my project, lay a young man no older than me. Completely unconscious and fully grown. He was thin, lanky, and had a full head of dark-brown hair. He didn't seem to be breathing but I doubt my brother and I had been breathing at that point either.
I remember smacking Caleb in the shoulder. "IS THIS SOME KIND OF JOKE!?"
"NO! I swear it! Stop smacking me!"
There was a bit of back and forth from us before the heavy sigh of a first breath came from the thing that looked like a teenaged boy. He was wheezing, his lungs trying to grab all the air it could. He was still unconscious, but he was desperately trying to breathe in as much air as he could.
This wasn't a homunculus… but it certainly wasn't a human either.
"What the hell is going on here?" I questioned to myself, grabbing my textbook to try and find anything that might explain what was going on.
Caleb stayed between me and the thing. "That's what I'd like to know. Homunculus should never be this big. They should remain tiny throughout their lives… how did you get him to grow so big?"
"You think I know!?"
There came a knock at the door, scaring both my brother and me.
I threw my textbook onto my bed. "Hide him!"
"Just do it, Cay! We don't want people seeing this… thing!"
"But why do I have to do it!? It's all slimy and…"
"Cay, I swear…!"
"Hey!?" Came a voice from the other side of the door. "Is everything alright in there, Les?"
I finally pushed my brother towards the thing on my floor. "Do it!"
He made a disgusted, cringy face before doing as told and bringing the human-like creature into his arms and rushing to the bathroom. It was probably best since he looked like he might throw up.
I ran to the door to answer it, fixing my glasses and throwing on a fake smile.
On the other side of the door was Alyssa, one of the more popular people at the institute and the object of my brother's affections.
Too bad he was dealing with the slimy humanoid at the moment.
The taller woman looked at me worriedly, he green eyes shown off with her brown hair tied behind her. "Hey, are you alright? I heard a lot of commotion in here."
She suddenly caught sight of the broken glass and tried to enter my room, but I stopped her.
I let out a nervous chuckle. "Everything's fine, really. I just had an accident when my brother messed with my homunculus project. That's all. My brother's paying for the damages he made."
Just a moment late we heard him empty his guts into the toilet, making Alyssa cringe in sympathy.
"Alright, well… tell him he has my condolences. I remember screwing up on that project as well and having to clean up the mess. I'm sure he regrets messing with it now."
Another round of vomits had Alyssa sniggering at his misfortune. I was just happy she fell for my excuse.
After saying goodbye to her, closing and locking my door right away, I ran to the bathroom to see Caleb with his head in the toilet and trying to breathe through the disgust. In the bath tub was the humanoid, still breathing erratically and covered in slime.
I decided to get a closer look at the humanoid, getting to the tub's edge and moving away some hair from his face. He indeed looked like a human, from his head down to his… well… …I dared not look down past his hips. Still, there was something off about him from other humans.
It took a minute, but I realised soon after that he had no belly-button. This made sense since he wasn't born traditionally like most humans. Though it made me wonder what else he was missing.
Caleb finally got control of himself, picking himself off the floor to look over the creature. "Congrats, Les. It's a boy. And he's disgusting as all sin."
I growled at his words, standing up to bring the showerhead down. "Help me clean him off."
"Are you insane?!"
"Do you want to touch a slimy naked guy again?" I questioned, turning on the water. "Now help me. You get the lower half."
"Why am I getting stuck cleaning a naked guy's lower body?! Just tell me that Celeste!"
I rolled my eyes again, drenching the humanoid in water. "Just do it."
With great reluctance, my brother did end up helping me clean him off. He was wary of certain regions, trying to back out more than once, but I managed to keep talking him back into helping me. Whatever this thing was, and it was most likely human, it needed to be cleaned. After which… I would probably have to tell someone about his existence.
Just so I would know what to do next with him.
During his cleaning, the humanoid actually began to stir from his slumber. His eyes even opened to show off a pair of light blue eyes that seemed to be a mixture of fear and weariness. He didn't speak though, electing to just look at me.
It wasn't until moments after did I notice this from him and back off a bit from cleaning him. Thankfully for Caleb he hadn't been caught washing anything that might be considered unfavourable for them.
The humanoid looked so confused at seeing me, cocking his head a bit in question. It was then he noticed what he looked like and began to move around a bit. It wasn't much, just a few twitching of his fingers and toes, but he grinned at the tiny gestures.
Caleb immediately backed out at this. "Alright, I'm out! You made another human being, Les! Congrats! Nobel prize! Top of the charts at Blackquill! Now kill it before he gains sentience!"
"He's technically already sentient, Cay. But I will have to bring this up with father. For now I guess he's staying here."
"But boys aren't allowed in the girl's dorm." He reminded me with a cheeky grin.
I remember grinning back at my brother. "He's not a boy. He's a homunculus!"
His scoff made me giggle.
"After what I had to wash? Trust me… it's a boy."