I woke up screaming, in a bed that I knew wasn't mine. I looked around, and noticed that the room seemed familiar, and was most certainly a hotel room. There were purple patterned curtains covering one side of the wall, so I drew them aside and confirmed my suspicions- I was in the little hotel on the same street as the Sanctuary in Manhattan.
It was named 'Hotel'; not very creative, but there you go. Niccolo and I had strolled right past it plenty of times, and this was where we agreed we would meet if, for some reason, we were ever separated. Not that it was likely I would be in New York if such an event should transpire. In this case, I assumed he had brought me here because he couldn't teleport. As lovely as my little research cabin is, the commute from a little town in Iowa to Manhattan might be just a tad impractical.
Suddenly I remembered what I had realized in my dream, and I could feel my heart rate picking up. "Niccolo..." I said aloud, because even if I couldn't see him I knew he was there, "I figured out what you were trying to do that day- with the iron." I took a deep breath, then conitnued, "But I'd rather not do it myself... Could you...?" I waited. No response.
I searched for a bathroom and found one very quickly; there was a large mirror just as I had hoped I would. Clearly, Niccolo meant for me to do this myself. "Fine," I muttered under my breath, letting my irritation fuel my resolve. I let a small fire blaze up between two of my fingers, and fueled it with oxygen to make it hotter. Then I gritted my teeth, watched closely in the mirror to make sure I didn't get the wrong spot, then lifted the fire up to the binding symbol on my neck.
Within seconds I could smell my own flesh burning, and I could see my skin bubbling up where it met the flame. I waited just long enough to ensure that it would scar, then quickly extinguished the fire. For a few moments I leaned heavily on the sink, breathing hard. Resisting the urge to run out for ice or at least some cold water was difficult, but I was afraid if I did it wouldn't scar properly.
Bereft of any other form of relief, I dulled the pain the only way I knew how; by retreating into my mind. I needed something to think about. Something powerful. Rosa can't have seen me, because she didn't stop me. That meant she was probably either dead or in Ireland. Which, now that I mentioned it, wasn't the most pleasant train of thought, so I stopped.
The binding spell. It's broken. It's broken. I'm free. Suddenly I couldn't feel the pain anymore; I leaped into the air, and my face broke out into a wide grin. "YES!" I yelled aloud. "I have my life back again!" And as the realization became more real every second. Pretty soon I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe, and tears streamed down my face. When had I ever been this happy? I crumpled into a heap on the floor, and realized I hadn't laughed this hard since Jubilance Glee had attacked me. I never would've imagined that I could feel this good again without magic to help me.
Once I had recovered some of my sanity, I slipped out of the hotel- checking out would've been too much of a pain, for several reasons- and strolled across the street to the Sanctuary. Needless to say, my co-workers were surprised, but in a happy way. I was determined that no matter what happened, for just one day, I would hold on to my happiness- until I received and read an updated bingo book.