By the hands of the Gods, you have been plucked from your time and from your world, dropped into the box.
Only the box is a world of its own.
We are a mass crossover based on the concept of Pandora's Box. Characters from nearly any fandom can be played here. Because of the endless character possibilities, we are canon only here at Pandora. Take a peek at our rules and plot information before starting your new life in Pandora.
Lift grimaced and rubbed at her belly as she wandered around the outside of the fancy-schmancy new building Daye Investigations had moved into. She ached, feeling a bit like she did when she used up every bit of food in her tummy, 'cept she had just eaten and hadn't used her awesomeness at all. She wasn't hungry, and this pain felt more like someone kicking her repeatedly in the stomach. It had happened a few days each month for a little while now, and she bled, and Stormlight didn't seem to do a starvin' thing to heal it.
She hadn't talked to anyone about it, even though Wyndle had said she probably should. She didn't want to, 'cause she knew what it was. It was getting older, was what it storming was, and that wasn't supposed to be summat what happened to her. She just tried to ignore it, but it was painful and wads of tissue paper didn't help much.
So far though, she'd managed to avoid anyone noticing. Gabe hadn't noticed, which was the most important thing. She didn't wanna talk about it with him. She didn't wanna talk about it with anyone.
She definitely hadn't come here to talk to anyone about it. She'd only come to see Goji and see what new kittens he had. She was just trying to find a way in that wasn't as boring as the front door.
Settling into the new office was something that Toby found to be a little more stressful this time around. There had been a lot more things to juggle than their move from Blackhaven to the Midcourt office building. More employees, more headaches, more of everything. Making sure that everyone had a place and keeping things straight had been enough to make Toby want to drink most nights but she managed to keep that information to herself.
Everything had been set up pretty well. Everyone had their own space and offices. The lobby looked really nice and the break room was good. Plenty of storage but how could there not be when a shallowing was technically half of the building. Toby had made sure that she was the one who had claimed the place. It was something that she could feel when she walked in.
Her office happened to be just over the threshold of the shallowing. One of the larger offices with Ela’s desk outside to sort of… block the way if someone managed to get past Lena. Which really didn’t happen unless Lena wasn’t in that day. The brunette had to admit that her office looked nicer here than it had back home. She also felt really rested here. Because it was a piece of the Summerlands in a way that the rest of Pandora wasn’t. Protection from the sun and everything the mortal world had to offer. If Toby happened to be in the shallowing when dawn hit, she wouldn’t even feel the normal punch.
Toby was making her way from the break room towards her office when a semi-familiar figure crossed her path. Lift. The kid that Goji had helped. The one who Toby had run into that one time, a handful of months back. She was an odd kid but Toby liked her and Goji certainly did, so she was welcome at Daye Investigations whenever she wanted. Even if the fridge always seemed a little lean after Lift visited. That was never a big problem in Toby’s books. Kid could eat as much as she wanted and Toby just tried to keep everything as stocked anyways. Oberon knew that her team ate a shit ton anyways.
The investigator offered Lift a smile and a nod, before an odd sort of smell hit her nose. Toby knew she had a sensitive sense of “smell” when it came to certain things and it was difficult for her not to notice the tang of blood in the air. Toby had been around enough situations to understand certain differences in the smell of blood. Old blood vs. new blood. How bad a wound might be. That sort of thing. But she also had been around women enough to know that that time of the month was always a thing that she had to ignore. Thankfully modern products made that easier as they masked the scent and most women had a routine to keep things under wraps.
But not everyone had been around that block before. Toby’s stride slowed slightly and she glanced over her shoulder at Lift to realize… there was a spot on her pants. It was glaring to someone of Toby’s age. Lift had no idea what was going on, did she? Toby went back to her office first and quickly fished through her desk for a few items that she tucked into her pocket, before she circled back around to find the younger woman. Of course, Lift was in Goji’s office with some kittens, but otherwise the office was empty.
”Hi Lift!” Toby’s voice was cheery enough, though she didn’t move too close to the dark haired girl. Instead the changeling stopped just inside the doorway and she leaned against a bare patch of wall with a smile on her lips. ”How have you been?” Alright, not the best start, but this was never any easy conversation to have, was it?
"Mistress, we just passed the front door. You're welcome here, so why do you insist on breaking in?"
"Helping 'em test their security."
"Helping--" The spren sighed. It was a long, drawn-out sound and not for the first time Lift wondered how he could sigh at all when he didn't breathe. When he spoke again he sounded exasperated, though Lift s'posed that was his default tone. If he'd had hands, he woulda thrown 'em up in the air. "Alright. If you say so."
Lift shot a grin at him as she headed through the building, straight towards Goji's office. Didn't matter to her if the bloke was in or not, she'd get inside regardless. She passed Toby in the corridor, and gave the woman only half a wave as she continued on her way. Turned out Goji wasn't in, but that didn't matter. Couple of minutes later she'd got inside and was sitting on the floor with a bunch of squeaky kittens on her lap.
One arm was settled over her belly without her even meaning to put it there, as the pain throbbed worse. She was petting the kittens, expecting to be left alone unless Goji came back and it wasn't like he'd care that she'd got in his office. No one seemed to care about anything she did around here. Even when she emptied the fridge people were just indulgent. She wasn't sure if she liked it or found it annoying.
But when Toby came into the room to find her sitting there with four kittens in her lap and a fifth black-and-white one sitting on her head where it had managed to climb her hair, Lift was kind of surprised since the woman just let her do her own thing. She was even more surprised when Toby started out with what sounded like small talk and she immediately felt a bit suspicious. When an adult tried small talk with someone like her it was never a good thing. Toby was probably gonna try and make her do something.
"I'm 'kay," she said slowly, lifting one hand to pluck the black-and-white kitten from the top of her head. Storms, it was so soft. It was still weird to her. Just as weird as all the grass in this world that didn't hide. "Why you asking?"
At this stage, Toby just sort of let Lift do what she wanted at Daye Investigations. It probably wasn’t the securest thing in the world but there was no stopping the kid. Lift had abilities that Toby hadn’t been able to fully figure out yet but she was harmless and didn’t give a shit about case work or what was in the files. Toby actually wondered if Lift knew how to read, but those were small details that a kid who had grown up on the streets might not have known.
Lift was talking in that way that suggested she had no clue what Toby was after or about. The brunette just sort of stared back at the teen and let a bit of a sigh go. This was going to be a difficult conversation with someone who didn’t exactly know her or trust her, but Toby had a feeling Lift didn’t exactly have anyone she wanted to talk to about it.
”Well, I noticed something.” Toby moved into Goji’s office and sat down in a similar manner. Not too close to Lift but close enough that one of the kittens trundled over to Toby for scratches soon enough. Toby liked cats, but that was another one of those things from home. Faerie and cats went hand in hand. Cats could see what humans could not and they had always been companions to those with faerie blood.
Toby let herself trail off for a second before deciding that being blunt was likely going to be her best option. ”You’re bleeding and you don’t know why, yeah?” Toby continued to pet the cat instead of looking directly at Lift, making it seem like she was just there to relax more than anything else. ”Stomach hurt? Odd pains right around here?” Toby’s free hand gestured towards her middle, just in case the clarification was needed.
As Toby sat on the floor with her, one of the kittens wobbling over for scratches, Wyndle made his meandering way along the floor towards the window, where he stuck himself to the glass, looking out at the street and leaving Lift with Toby.
She couldn't really help the grimace once she realised that the woman had guessed what was going on with her. Her belly made those pains again right as Toby mentioned them, as though trying to let her know that, yup, they were definitely there all right.
And Lift wasn't exactly storming eager to talk about it.
"Hurt myself being stupid," she said lightly, deciding she was just gonna lie instead of admit anything. She didn't know why she was bleeding. Not really, but she knew enough. She knew it was what happened to girls when they got older. She didn't know the how or the why but she didn't care. "Too hungry to heal yet is all." She shrugged, petting the kittens in her lap, even though she obviously woulda gone straight for the fridge if she was that hungry she had no awesomeness.
Toby saw a few little hints in Lift's face that she was hitting things right on the head. Toby knew exactly what was going on. Considering how long Toby had been dealing with her period, it really wasn't any wonder. Toby had gotten hers when she was twelve and she was sixty three. Fifty one years of this bullshit but it was because of her period that she had been able to have Gilly. Silver linings.
Hurt myself being stupid. One eyebrow rose above the other as Toby continued to pet the kitten. She knew that she was going to have to handle this a little delicately if Lift had no idea what she was talking about. Not denying her period right away or scrambling around because it had happened. If she had had any help at all with it, Toby doubted Lift would have come up with those two lies. That she was hungry to heal... well, maybe that wasn't a lie.
"It's not going to heal in that manner, Lift." Instead Toby decided to just pull the cat out of the bag. She never liked beating around the bush. "Because you didn't wound yourself. You're bleeding into your underwear, right? Small clothes?" Toby couldn't be certain what was the correct term in Lift's world but she used two wildly known ones just in case Lift didn't understand at first. Either way, time to bite the bullet.
"You've got your period. Every woman gets it." Toby couldn't help but wonder why it was named that again but did it really matter? It was basically universal with every woman she had spoken to in Pandora or over heard, not that it was a frequent subject but it wasn't all that uncommon either. Tampons and pads were still sold everywhere.
Lift was more than capable of coming up with those lies by herself. She was just hoping Toby would fall for 'em and leave her alone. But no such storming luck apparently, because she went right on talking about it and Lift couldn't help the loud sigh she made that made one of the kittens fall out of her lap and roll on the floor in fright.
"Yeah," she said, picking up the tiny ball of fluff and sticking it back in her lap again. She coulda just kept on going with the lie but what was the storming point when Toby had seen through it so storming quickly? "I know I can't heal it. Storming tried, ain't I?" Tried every storming time it happened, but no luck any time.
Just then her tummy hurt even more, like summat was inside it kicking its way out. For a moment, she just squeezed her eyes shut, her breath stopping for a second in her throat. She didn't like things hurting, least not when she couldn't heal it. But this seemed to be the only thing being awesome couldn't fix. She could heal a bullet hole in her brain, and regrow a leg, but not stop this.
Lift didn't understand what was going on, did she? Toby had been talking like Lift had at least some knowledge of what her body was supposed to go through. She was a girl and she was going to turn into a woman at some point. Some stupid people back in the day or in other worlds would say that Lift had become a woman by the virtue of hormones starting to flow through her body. Toby thought that was a load of horseshit. Life would likely teach Lift a few more lessons before adulthood fully settled on her shoulders.
The brunette didn't know what to do for a second. She was a little at a lost on how to bridge this gap in Lift's knowledge. There was only so much that Toby could honestly do and she felt like this was about to get three more levels of awkward in a very short amount of time. "Do you..." Toby stopped for a moment, trying to second guess herself before just forging ahead. "Do you know where babies come from, Lift?" This was a whole different side of the conversation that Toby really didn't want to have but here they were.
If Toby had to explain every step of this, she was going to just consider it practice for when Gilly got to be this age. Her daughter was only five but Toby had already been here three years. What was to say they wouldn't be here for another ten years? She was going to have to figure this out with Gilly sooner or later. Might as well practice with Lift and hope she didn't fuck it up too much.
A life on the streets meant that Lift had knowledge on some stuff but not others. She knew what money laundering was, but she didn't know why she was bleeding except that women bled when they got old.
Which was the storming problem. She was not supposed to get old in the first place. The Nightwatcher granted boons. Not changing had been Lift's. But here she was.
Toby's question made her hoot with laughter despite how frustrating this topic was. Or rather it was more the awkward way the question was asked. Lift was kinda tempted to pretend she was ignorant so see how twitchy Toby got with the explanation, but more to just save herself from having to listen, she nodded.
"Yeah," she said with a shrug. "Ya don't go long on the streets without knowing what men and women get up to down shady alleyways." She'd seen a few times. Accidentally. The whole thing didn't really look very comfortable. "Dunno what sex has got to do with nothing though. I ain't gonna have no baby if that's what you're thinking"
Toby felt something clench a little bit on the inside when Lift spoke about growing up on the streets. Toby had been homeless for a period of time when she was a handful of years older than Lift. It hadn't been a good experience though Toby had learned a lot from it. She had wound up on Devin's snare in order to get away from it but her world had been a very different one from what Lift had experienced. The brunette still didn't like to hear about kids on the streets though. It was a rough type of life and every kid deserved to have a safe, warm place to go home to.
Where was Lift staying now?
There was a little bit of a rough snort from Toby when Lift very calmly responded to that question like a seasoned veteran. It was more than a little amusing. "Well, I'd definitely say that you're not pregnant." Toby responded almost in a light voice, but from a place of authority on the subject. "Because you weren't able to have a child before you start bleeding there, Lift. That's the sign that your body's starting to get ready to grow up." Which was what that period was. It was going to suck but that was just life. Literally.
Toby picked up the kitten to carefully rub both sides of the kitten's face with her thumbs. "This is going to happen to you once a month until your body's old and decides its done with being able to make babies." At least Toby didn't have to explain what the birds and bees were. That really would have made everything so uncomfortable in general.
Truth was, Lift didn't really know. Least, not more than what she had seen happen on the outside. She had no idea how men and women tangling together resulted in kids being born, she just knew that one led to the other. And really, she didn't storming care. That wasn't of any interest to her 'cause she was never going to want a baby in order to need to know the details of how making one worked. She was never gonna get old enough to want one. Least that was how it was meant to be.
Toby said altogether the wrong thing when she explained that the bleeding was a sign that her body was growing up. Abruptly, she got to her feet, sending all the kittens in her lap tumbling down to the floor where they squeaked in indignation.
"Well you''re wrong there," she said firmly. "My body ain't ready to grow up, Toby. My body ain't supposed to grow up; she was meant to make storming sure of that!"This is going to happen to you once a month until your body's old. Lift didn't care about the bit about deciding it was done being able to have babies. She didn't care about that at all; even if she did get older she was never going to want a kid. Never. Her childhood had sucked enough. Why would she risk putting a kid into a similar situation by dying some time like her own mother had?
No, she didn't care about that. What she didn't wanna hear was the bit about how this bleeding was gonna happen until her body was old. Until she was old. She wrapped her arms around herself, feeling uncomfortable. She was never gonna get old. The Nightwatcher had granted her that boon, hadn't she?
Apparently Toby had said the wrong damn thing because Lift's reaction was not what she thought was going to happen. If anything, she was pretty sure she had just freaked the girl out. Toby's eyebrows raised as she watched Lift stood and quickly told her she wasn't supposed to grow up at all. Someone had told her that. Toby wanted to chuckle but there was something about Lift's tone that just... didn't fit with how girls normally reacted to this news.
Her eyebrows furrowed for a second and Toby shook her head ever so slightly before deciding to stay seated. Toby didn't want to freak Lift out in any way, shape, or form. "I'm not sure it's supposed to work that way for most people." She was careful to make sure that Lift wouldn't freak out further. Careful to say that normally people grew old. That wasn't the case in every world but almost every one that Toby had heard of.
"Do people not age in your world?" Maybe there was something else about this that Toby wouldn't know. But how could that be the case if Lift was on her period? Were there not adults in that world? Toby didn't think that was the case. Toby kept a relaxed manner though, making sure to keep petting the cat she had in her hands. Anything to keep everything as casual as possible. Lift looked tense enough for both of them.
Lift couldn't really help the kinda disparaging snort that escaped her when Toby said it wasn't meant to work that way for most people. She wasn't stupid, she knew that much. But in several ways Lift wasn't like most people. Only, the one thing Lift wanted to be different in was starting to seem like it was just the storming same as everyone else!
But it shoulda been impossible. The Nightwatcher didn't just decide to lie and not grant a boon after she said she had. The stories said nothing about that.
At Toby's question, Lift's gaze swivelled back to the woman and a crookedly amused smile appeared on her face at the very idea of a world inhabited by children without a single adult, before it vanished again. "'Course they do," she answered. "I ain't meant to, though. I asked not to change and that was s'posed to be granted." That was what not changing meant, wasn't it? Not growing up? She sure as storms was changing though. Whatever was going on inside her that made her bleed every month... That was changing.
The Nightwatcher had done something to her. Being unable to get Stormlight from any source other than food... Being able to physically touch spren... Those were not things other people should be able to do. Lift was different since seeing her, but not in the way that she wanted. Why?
For all Toby knew, Lift came from Never Never Land and was some sort of weird reincarnation of Peter Pan. It actually would have fit on a bunch of different levels but the brunette decided to keep her mouth shut on the subject. It seemed better to go about this conversation far more cautiously than what Toby first hand in mind. Her mind whirled at the information the teenager was giving her, though there were big gaps in what Toby was being told.
The brunette paused and looked at Lift, one eyebrow arching. "There could be a couple of reasons." At least, reasons that Toby could logic out. She didn't know the world that Lift came from or what the rules were there but she was more than willing to logic through a conversation or two to help Lift figure everything out. "Were you bleeding before you came to Pandora?" Something as simple as being out of reach of the woman, whoever Lift was actually speaking about, could be the key. If Lift was cut off from whatever magic had been keeping her in Never Never Land mode, maybe it was broken when Lift came to Pandora.
"Regardless, there's some stuff to help with what you're going through." Toby knew that figuring out what the fuck was going on was going to be more important to Lift, but being a woman, Toby also knew what would be going on in general. Cramps, bloating, the bleeding. Cravings and mood swings, though those sounded like normal Lift things in a way. Toby finally pulled out what she had been carrying in her back pocket, a pad and a tampon, lifting both items up to Lift so she could take them.
She didn't wanna have this conversation. Her flight response was kicking in, as she bounced restlessly on the balls of her feet, looking over at the door. She was so tempted to just run right for it and leave.
"Mistress." She looked down at the floor. Wyndle had slithered away from the window, back over to her, invisible to Toby. He seemed to know exactly what she was wanting to do. "I know this is something that's been worrying you. And confusing you. If Toby is willing to sit and talk things through with you, you should stay and let her. Please. Don't run from this."
Lift didn't answer. She couldn't answer, not with Toby there. For a long moment, she hesitated, frowning, before she huffed and then dropped back to the floor, crossing both her legs and her arms. Immediately, the kittens began to swarm all over her again but this time she ignored them.
"Yeah," she mumbled reluctantly. "Only one time, then I came here." She'd just ignored it then, or at least done her best too. Wyndle was surprisingly observant sometimes though. Or... maybe not storming surprising. What else was he gonna do but observe?
Then Toby was holding things out to her. The young Radiant stared, first at the wrapped square and then at the cylinder-ish thing, and her expression was completely nonplused as her dark-eyed gaze shifted past the items to the older woman holding them. "What are these?" she asked blankly. "If it's food, ya know I'm more'n happy to just nick stuff outta your fridge."
If Lift had started bleeding back home, then Toby's idea of Pandora being the "issue" wasn't valid. There could be more reasons but without knowing who "she" was and what this odd conversation with Lift had been, Toby likely wouldn't have been able to piece together anything other idea.
What are these? Lift had no idea about any of this. Toby just sort of sighed mentally and then offered Lift a little bit of a smile. "They're not food. Though you're gunna get cravings when you're on your monthly. You'll wanna eat more." Her small smile grew into something a bit wider at that. Lift ate enough for a small army. It would probably seem silly to her but Toby knew what she was talking about. Sometimes you just had to stuff your face.
"So this is a pad and this is a tampon." Toby separated the items so that there was one in each hand. "And women from most worlds use this to make sure they don't bleed on their clothing when they have their monthly. These are disposable... so you throw them out when you're done using them." Toby's mind was racing, trying to figure out exactly how to explain all of this without any basis of knowledge on Lift's end.
"This one lines your underwear and is called a pad." Toby wiggled the pad. "This one is a tampon and you put it up your vagina." She wiggled the tampon. "You can pick whichever one you want and I can show you how to use it. Some gals use both. I use tampons." But she was also a bit more active than the average lady. To each their own. Toby kept that smile on her lips, watching Lift's face as she talked to make sure the girl wasn't freaking out again.
Lift half-listened to Toby as she began to explain, the other half of her just daydreaming about this conversation not happening. She really, really, really didn't wanna talk about this. She didn't wanna talk about bleeding or getting older or any of it. She didn't care about the bleeding. The only thing she cared about was whether it meant the Nightwatcher had storming lied to her.
She realised that women from Roshar must have had summat to keep the blood off their clothes too, though what she didn't know. Probably just rags. She'd tried to use tissues from the toilet once the bleeding had repeated itself for the first time, but that hadn't done anything and she'd just given up after that. She s'posed she'd probably have learned this stuff from her mother, if her mother hadn't died years ago.
When the older woman explained what was done with the thing called a tampon, Lift wrinkled her nose. "Up?" she repeated, as though Toby had said the most horrible thing. "Ya put it in? What, in the same place guys put their--" She cut off, shuddering at the idea of just sticking summat in her body.
Hunching her shoulders again, Lift let out a frustrated huff. "I don't care about getting the blood on my clothes," she said. "I get blood everywhere most days anyways." Either from her getting hurt 'cause there was no need to care when she could heal so well, or from getting other people's blood on her when she healed them, there wasn't really a single bit of clothing that didn't have a bloodstain somewhere.
Lift's reaction to the tampon was not odd to Toby. There were plenty of girls who had a similar reaction and Toby had to keep herself from chuckling. It was sort of scary, this idea of sticking a tampon inside of yourself like that, but then again pads were... well, not Toby's speed. For more than one reason.
To respond to Lift, Toby chucked the tampon straight over her shoulder and out of the way. That left them with the pad. There were a few other options around but Toby did not want to get into those with someone Lift's age.
Lift brought up the other part and Toby shook her head slightly. "It's also about being sanitary, Lift. About making sure you don't make yourself sick because of it. Blood is not meant to be against your skin for prolonged periods of time." Toby carefully started to unwrap the pad, showing Lift how to do it and hoping that the teenager would follow along. Hopefully.
"You can't keep this on for too long either. Different sizes last different amounts of time depending on how... heavy you're bleeding. That changes too, right?" Instead Toby just kept moving forward. Peeling away the plastic and showing Lift the pad while she kept talking.
She was tempted to point out that she could just heal being sick. Instead she just kept silent, frowning at the stupid thing in Toby's hand as the woman showed her how to unwrap it. She did find herself actually paying attention though, as much as she didn't want to.
At Toby's question, Lift just shrugged. She hadn't really paid any attention to how heavily she'd been bleeding, or at least whether it changed or not. She tried not to pay attention to any of it.
"Is there any way to make it stop?" she asked, keeping her arms folded. "I can't heal it but there's gotta be summat, right? I don't want any of this." She knew she sounded like a petulant child, but it was different for her. She wasn't a normal girl just experiencing puberty for the first time. She was a girl who'd been under the impression for the past three years that she wasn't ageing or changing. "This ain't meant to happen."
Lift didn't run away and Toby considered that a bit of a win. If she could get Lift to understand this then that was something good done with her day. The brunette finished unwrapping the pad and then peeled it off the plastic. "You put this in your underwear and then fold the wings under the underwear. It'll hold in place because it's sticky and designed to do that." Toby hoped Lift would understand this. Toby was just going to consider this a sort of... baby step towards having this conversation with Gilly one day.
But Lift was already talking about healing what was going on inside of her. "Honey, it's nothing you can heal." There was a softness to her voice. Something she had used a few times before with other kids who were in bad positions in their lives and needed a little bit of a gentle touch. "You're not wounded in that manner. You're not sick. It's..." Toby stopped for a second and tried to think about how a human schools might have done this but apparently they weren't good at their jobs either.
"It's a natural, sucky part of being a woman. You'll have them every month, typically, until you're too old to have babies anymore." There was a sort of apology in her tone but Toby couldn't offer any other answer. Toby knew it wasn't what she wanted to hear but there was little to be done about it at this stage. Once it started, there was no stopping it. Mother nature would take things from here in a manner that couldn't be fought.