Author: strapped to a comet PM
Pre Dark. On a rainy day, Isabel contemplates her near death, trying to put the pieces back together, while Arkarian suffers in silence. ArkarianIsabel.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - Isabel B. & Arkarian - Words: 2,949 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 6 - Published: 09-02-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3137373
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own Guardians of Time. It all belongs to the humble Marianne Curley. Let me lament for a moment.
Author's Note: Done lamenting now ; ) Anyway, this little idea came to me while I was sitting out on my porch last night, praying for rain. It's a one-shot, but I might write a follow up if all goes well. This is my first venture into the fandom, I hope it's not a complete disgrace…don't forget to review!
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carry your heart with me, (I carry it in my heart),
I am never without it,
I fear no fate, I want no world.
Here is the deepest secret nobody knows,
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart.
-E.E. Cummings, I Carry Your Heart
Sometimes I feel like all time is doing is slipping away from me. All of my days are blending together. The monotony is driving me near insane! I wake up; go to school – the normal teenager part of my life. As soon as school's out, most days, I head out with Ethan and Matt to whatever new training ground Arkarian has found for us – the Guard part of my life. We change training grounds at least once a week now.
It doesn't help that Matt is struggling, either. It's been a month since he became Ethan's apprentice, and still, his abilities have yet to reveal themselves.
I wonder about our abilities.
Ethan can move things with his mind – telekinesis. He also has his wings; a gift from the Tribunal in Athens gave him after we defeated Marduke. Now he can transport himself to wherever he wants at his will. I can't wait to get my wings.
My ability, on the other hand, is healing. I never quite understood why I developed that gift. I was a tomboy. One hundred percent hands-in-the-dirt, and now my touch can heal? Arkarian says our gifts originate from our souls, not only our physical aspects – I'm a complete sports junkie, for example. I take his word for it, but there's something in how Arkarian answers that question that always has me thinking.
I know it's pointless. To try and understand what goes on in his mind, but I can't help it. I'm curious about him. He's hogging all of my dreams; the least he could do was explain himself a little more plainly once in a while. At least that's what I think.
Ever since Ethan brought me back from the middle realm, I swear he's been acting differently. Arkarian, I mean. He tries to hide it, and most of the time he's successful, but it's the little things. He interrogates me more thoroughly after each mission I go on with Ethan – and he leaves Ethan completely alone! I like that he cares, I like it a lot, but I still don't understand him. Now, that drives me insane.
Coming so close to death should unsettle me. And it does, but Ethan saved me. He let it slip a few days back, during a training session with Matt, that if you die and go to the middle realm, the only thing that will call you back is the voice of your soul-mate. Well, doesn't that mean Ethan's my soul-mate, then? I can only remember bits and pieces of what happened after that arrow pierced my heart, but I do remember that when I woke up, Ethan was right there with me, standing over me with a look of sheer relief on his face. Arkarian was in the room too, I think, but I'm sure it was Ethan who saved me.
So why am I dreaming about Arkarian all the time? I've had a huge crush on Ethan forever, but aren't your dreams supposed to be some form of your subconscious thoughts? So why can't I access those thoughts when I'm awake?
I run my hands through my wet hair. It's raining right now, even though I can still see the sun in the sky. It's a blurry ball of golden light behind the rain clouds. I'm sitting on the front step of my porch, and I hadn't even realized it had started raining harder.
You know what? Let it rain! Let it drench me through so I catch a cold!
I stand up quickly, and in my jeans; sweatshirt and running shoes, I head down the path that leads into the forest in a sudden burst of energy.
It's been over a month now – perhaps a little longer – since I almost lost her. A few more steps and she would have been beyond my reach. A few more steps and I would have lost my soul-mate for the rest of my ageless life. These are the thoughts that keep me up late at night.
Just thinking her name gives me a sense of ease, but at the same time, I remember the fear that tore through me when Ethan brought her to my chambers, her lifeless body limp in his arms. I wanted nothing more than to bring her back. At first, when I had realized that she'd been killed in the past – the thought still makes my throat tighten even now – I had put all my faith in Ethan in saving her. My own denial had kept me from admitting the truth, that she was my soul-mate, and that in the middle realm, Ethan, for all his valiant actions, would be unable to get through to her.
In a heartbeat I weighed the pain of losing her forever in this world, and that of bringing her back only to watch her live out her life in happiness with someone other than me. I made my decision without hesitation, sealing my heart's fate in the process, and stopped her moments from crossing over.
Up until the moment I called out her name, I hadn't understood what a reaction from her would mean to me. I knew that only soul-mates could communicate with each other in the middle realm. I learned that day that it's one thing to learn, another to experience it.
I made myself a promise that I wouldn't interfere. The love shining in her eyes – love for Ethan – when she thought that he had saved her was enough to keep me from ruining her life. She is in love with Ethan, and no matter how many stray thoughts of hers I picked up on before she learned how to shield herself from me, I won't be moved from my promise.
Isabel is drawn to light, to the goodness of the world, and I won't have her giving into false hope that there could ever be anything other than friendship between us.
However melodramatic, that I, a six hundred-year-old TruthMaster, is so deeply in love with a fifteen-year-old girl, I don't care. I know that I'm lying to myself everyday I pretend not to care for her more than a friend should. Ethan is the only other person who knows, and I have sworn him to secrecy. Isabel doesn't remember anything beyond her fatal wound and waking up to see Ethan by her side, and it will stay that way as long as she is in my life.
I sigh, deeply, and let my head dip in exhaustion from my thoughts. Silence surrounds me.
I have been sitting in my chambers for hours, watching the spinning sphere for any changes in the past. I couldn't sleep the night before – every time I closed my eyes I saw those same brown eyes and shining head of blond hair – and now it is well into the afternoon of this day. Time can pass so quickly when you don't care what happens to you. So I distract myself with my work.
Since I have received word from Lorian that Lathenia has been in hiding ever since Marduke's defeat, I have been spending hours at a time watching over the sphere. Lady Arabella had suggested drawing up a schedule for people to take shifts, but I declined, claiming that to take anyone else away from their duties while Lathenia is lying low would be an unnecessary risk to the Guard. I know that the Tribunal believed what I told them, all except Lorian, of course.
The real reason for my constant presence in my chambers is that it gives me more time to spend with Isabel, however little the interaction is; briefing for missions, reporting on Matt's progress.
I already mentioned my situation is melodramatic, even if it is reality. Is this what love unrequited is supposed to do to a man?
I can't remember the last time I went running in the rain!
The stray thought has me jerking up straight on my wooden stool, suddenly alert.
My legs have a mind of their own as they carry me deeper into the forest, following a path that Ethan, Matt and I have used as a shortcut to our training grounds countless times. I have no idea where I'm going, but the surrounding forest is illuminated by the sun and glittering from the falling rain.
This is the kind of freedom that I crave.
I spend nearly all my time trying to stand on my own two feet. And don't get me wrong, I succeed, and with flying colors. Even with Matt's constant hovering, I know that I can survive on my own. I can take him in any form of combat that Ethan's taught us both, not to mention all the regular sports while we were growing up. It's stifling sometimes the lengths that Matt goes to make sure I'll be "all right". I know he loves me, and I love him for all his protectiveness, but I'm fifteen! I can make my own decisions.
And this now, sprinting through the forest with nothing but the rain and the forest and the midday sun is what I absolutely love. Going a hundred miles an hour without a second thought. I love the exercise and the adrenaline that runs through me while I'm running. So much so that I haven't even realized where my feet have taken me: the path that runs by his chambers.
Immediately I shield my thoughts, hoping that, if he's there, he doesn't hear me coming. But then again, knowing Arkarian, he probably heard me from a mile away.
I slow to a walk as I come up to the side of the mountain where the invisible door to his chambers is hidden. My breath is coming out ragged, but my lungs are used to the running. My face feels hot against the patter of the rain, my loose hair already drenched through. The adrenaline has me itching to run more, but I can't pull myself away from the hidden door.
Standing there, the only sounds I can hear is the continual patter of the rain, as it hits the damp ground, soaks through my sweatshirt and jeans. My shoes are soaked through, too.
Something sounds from behind me and I react in a flash, clasping my left hand with my fisted right, driving my elbow into whatever's just appeared behind me. I hit something solid, and an answering groan has me spinning around ready to administer another kick if I have to.
I stop short and gape at the figure on the ground.
She's nearly a foot shorter than I am, and yet, with one defensive strike, Isabel has managed to disarm me completely. I have my hand pressed to my chest, gasping for air as my ribs begin to throb. I'm on the ground, and she's staring down at me like I've sprouted a fifth appendage.
'Isabel,' I get out, forcing myself to my feet, trying to regulate my breathing pattern again. 'What…are you doing here?' I ask in a harsher tone than I mean to.
She stares at me with an open mouth, her eyes still wide with surprise.
I quickly make a mental note never to use my wings in Isabel's presence unless I'm in her line of sight.
'I'm so sorry! Here,' she steps forward and places a hand on my chest where she elbowed me just moments before.
I still immediately at the touch, not able to trust myself to do anything else. Immediately I begin to feel the warmth of her healer's touch seep into my chest, mending the bruised ribs and easing my breathing back to normal. It's the most comforting feeling in the world, and I don't want it to end.
We're inches apart, and I can't take my eyes off of her. She's frowning in concentration, her focus still on healing my chest, but the damage is repaired in moments with her skill, and then she looks up at me with her innocent brown eyes.
I see her gulp visibly, and the red coloring her cheeks is not from the running I suspect she did to get up here. She takes a slow step back, giving me a chance to collect my thoughts and drag them back from a dark corner of my mind.
I realize that there are several emotions coursing through me at the moment that have me distracted for a moment. One is anger. Isabel is out running in the forest, alone, and had not been shielding her thoughts. Anyone one of the Order could have tried to kill her. My fist clenches involuntarily at the thought of how careless she has been. Another emotion is curiosity about what she is doing at my chambers at this time of day, but in the end, the anger of her carelessness wins over.
'Isabel, you weren't shielding your thoughts,' I state, my tone cutting. I don't want to lecture her, but I don't understand how she could be so forgetting of the fact that the Order of Chaos is out to kill all The Named!
She picks up on my hostility, and puts her hands on her hips in a defiant stance, her previous embarrassment gone. The action only makes me love her more.
'I am now, Arkarian,' Isabel counters, arching a blond eyebrow. Which, much to my dismay, is true, because now my only access to her emotions is what I can pick up from her eyes. I fight a smile at her stubbornness.
'That's not the point,' I reply, forcing myself to bat down my anger. Confronting Isabel will only spur her temper on more, and I don't want to fight with her on her own safety. I take a deep breath, and let it out as I drop my hands to my side.
'I apologize, Isabel,' I say, closing my eyes. I can't give her a straight answer without losing my concentration if she's studying my expression so closely. 'I simply want to know what you're doing outside my chambers, in the middle of the day, alone. You know it's not safe for any of The Named to travel alone right now,' I say to her in a reasonable tone.
I open my eyes again, and it doesn't escape my notice the slight blush that's coloring her cheeks, or the effect that observation has on my heart rate. I feel the weight of my promise again, but push the pain back and focus on the present.
'I just wanted to run in the rain,' she replies simply, holding out her arms in the universal sign of peace.
It's then that I notice the rain coming down on the both of us in torrents. Isabel shouldn't be allowed the ability to so easily distract me, especially since I realize that not only is she drenched, but I am as well.
Isabel's hair is a darker shade of blond when it's wet, contrasting with the night-sky dark navy sweatshirt she has on. She's squinting her eyes to look up at me through the rain, and I have to fight the urge to cup her face in my hand and kiss her. She is the most beautiful person I have ever seen, and the one person that I can never have.
She's looking at me with a surprisingly indecipherable expression, and I close my eyes again before I lose complete control of my silly impulses, clasping my hands behind my back as I do.
From where we stand, I can hear Matt's frantic thoughts as he travels up the trail Isabel has just taken, looking for his sister. He will be here within moments.
'Go home, Isabel,' I tell her, not able to keep the sigh from my voice.
'It'll rain another day,' I say, and then use my wings to transport myself back to my chamber's, forcing down a surge of regret as I collapse onto my wooden stool.
I love her so much, but she can never know.
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Author's Note: What do you think? I hope I did Isabel and Arkarian justice here! Let me know if you'd like to see a sequel, too…don't forget to review!