I should be working on my Extemp boxes (filling boxes of newspaper and magazine articles used in my Speech event to research the current events topics the people in my event give speeches on). I should be writing my own newspaper article (which is due Monday). I should be finishing cleaning my room (What does that do besides moving things from the floor where I can find them to other areas where I can't?) I should be sleeping (Talk about a waste of valuable time.) However, while working in the Boxes and listening to Nickel Creek, I was struck with a songfic idea. And writing a songfic is much more fun than any of the other choices.

Besides, several people have been after me to write a "real" N/K and my muse has been smacking me upside the head with ideas for months now. However, I don't see them as a couple (I do see it as a possibility, however, it would mess too many things up.) and I'm stubborn. Now my head's starting to hurt as my muse used it as a punching bag, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Here it goes:

Disclaimer: Kit and Nita, as well as anything else Young Wizards related, belong to the wonderfully talented Diane Duane. "Hanging by a Thread" belongs to the wonderfully talented Nickel Creek.

~*~*~*~

There's a kind of emptiness that can fill you up.

Kit lay back on his bed, staring at the ceiling. He'd needed to stop brooding, get up, and do something. However, each time he hardened his resolve, she'd appear in his mind again, filling him with a sense of hopelessness.

Nita hadn't been the same since the death of her mother in February. In the last three months, she'd become withdrawn, pushing everyone away. Including him.

It hurt. Everything was suffering because it. He couldn't concentrate, not at home or in school... and forget about wizardry. Every time he began something as simple a transit spell, the memory of her threw him off track. Her voice, matching his as they chanted together... Her eyes, confident in him and in herself... Her name, painfully lacking from the spell...

There's a kind of hunger that can eat you up.

Worst of all, there was the longing. To see her again... To see her smile again... Kit would give almost anything.

He longed to hear her laugh, carefree and trusting. He longed to see her walk through life once more, without the cloud of despair that hung over her head.

He longed to comfort her. To hold her strong and secure in his arms, telling her it would all be okay, even when he knew it wouldn't be. To drive away her worries with a powerful kiss—

Stop it, Rodriguez, he instructed himself firmly. Not only did that line of thinking sound like it came from a 33¢ romance novel, but it will get you nowhere. Rescue her from herself before you sweep her off her feet like a valiant knight.

But she wouldn't see him. She avoided him at school and wouldn't let him come over to her house. It took all of his self-control not to peek into her mind, searching for the specific problem. He wanted to fix it, but he knew not even wizardry had that much power. Suspend the grief of a person and you end up only increasing it.

He had to get through to her somehow. He'd been pushed all his life... when did he stop pushing back? She was pushing with all her might... but when did Kit Rodriguez step down from a challenge? Especially when the stakes were so high...

Kit knew what he was about to attempt was inherently dangerous and foolish. He must have double-checked his manual a hundred times...

Hoping she was decent, Kit prepared a quick and extremely unethical transit to Nita bedroom. This transit, however, was the least of his worries. He checked the woven transit-circle he intended to soon use once again.

Nita jerked up at the pop! sound of displaced air.

"What the hell are you doing here?" she demanded angrily.

Without a word, Kit activated the transit, hoping Nita's name hadn't changed in the last ten seconds since he'd last checked it in the manual. He really shouldn't be doing this, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

"What the hell are you doing?" Nita yelled, as the pair appeared on the moon. She appeared unchanged. Good.

"You're not going anywhere," Kit said, grabbing her she attempted to return home, "There's a temporary spell damper imbedded in this circle. You can leave the circle—and leave the oxygen and weather protection the circle offers from the outside—or you can listen to me."

"Damn you!" she spat, struggling violently against his hold. He held firm for a moment, and then released her once she'd calmed.

Smack! She hit Kit across the face.

And there's a lonely side of love.

"I guess I deserved that," Kit sighed.

"And more."

"Maybe." Kit chose his words carefully, "However, you deserve a few things, too." A break, your old life, me...

"Humph," was Nita's only reply.

"I know you're upset, and you have cause to be. However, you do not have cause to give up on life—and everyone in your life—because you are upset. You're killing the rest of us! Doesn't your father have enough to worry about without adding 'depressed recluse daughter' to his plate?

"What about wizardry? Have you done any significant wizardries since she died?"

Nita mumbled something under her breath. When Kit didn't respond, she repeated it slightly louder. "That's what got me into this mess."

Kit restrained his anger. "The Powers understand grieving, and I'm sure They give you an allowance of time. But wizardry doesn't live in the unwilling heart. How many other people will have to suffer the same loss you did if there weren't wizards fighting death?"

"It's a losing battle," Nita scoffed.

"If wizards don't fight entropy it'll happen faster! We may lose, but He won't win, either. How many die or suffer loss each day we refuse to serve?"

"If you're such a noble soul, go save the world yourself," she snarled.

With you here, baby, I am strong.

No sign of weakness.

With you gone, baby, I am hanging by a thread.

"I can't," Kit expressed. "We're partners. I don't do solo work very well."

Another muttered comment from Nita. Kit ignored her.

"Don't you see you're letting—no, helping—Him win? We've been the metaphorical thorn in His side. He'd love to have us both out of the picture. With our partnership broken, you doing nothing and me weakly working alone, He grows stronger. Every minute we aren't fighting Him, we're helping Him win.

"Besides," Kit said softly, sitting down on the rock where she was perched, "I miss you."

For once, Nita had no biting come back.

There's a certain kind of pain that can numb you.

Nita had spent the last several months building a wall, attempting to shield herself.

From what? she wondered now. From her dad, from Dairine, from her teachers, from Kit, from wizardry... from pain. You can't lose what you don't have.

Nita hated being weak. Even when Joanne and her gang used to push Nita around, Nita wasn't weak. She knew she could take Joanne; she simply preferred not to— it was easier that way. The feeling of helpless she felt during and after her mother's diagnosis, the feeling  of not being able to do anything.

It was much easier this way. If you don't feel anything, you can't feel pain.

There a type of freedom that can tie you down.

Kit had to go and pull a stunt like this. Just as she was getting accustomed to her new lifestyle. It was the only way to survive, she was sure of it—

It's not, Kit interrupted in her mind.

You were brain-tapping! she accused.

Sometimes you think a bit loud. You're not as closed off as you want to think. Kit braced himself for her rebuttal, but there came none. He continued aloud,

"You can't go through life without feeling anything. Yes, it's going to hurt, but you have to get past that. You have to concentrate on prevent and healing more of the world's hurt, rather than blatantly ignoring your own. You have an obligation. Yes, it has its risks and restrictions— you can't save everyone. But you have to do as much as you can."

Sometimes the unexplained can define you.

"How do you do it?" Nita whispered.

"Do what?" Kit asked.

"Everything. How do you dealing with knowing people died so you didn't have to... Mom, Fred, Ed..." She trailed off.

"They gave themselves so many others could live, not just you. Take it one day at a time. It hurt— it hurts like hell. But you can't let that stop you. We don't know what tomorrow will bring, whether it's good or bad, and we have to be prepared for it."

And sometimes silence is the only sound.

Nita looked at him for a long moment, tears welling up in her eyes.

"You just know everything, don't you?" she whispered, but there was no malice in her words.

Kit smiled, and took her hand.

"I know more than you realize."

Long after she finished crying, Nita and Kit sat together quietly, drawing closer than they had been in a long time.

With you here, baby, I am strong.

No sign of weakness.

With you gone, baby, I am hanging by a thread.

"No more," Kit said after a stretch of time.

"Hmm?" asked Nita, pulled out of her thoughts by Kit's voice. He had a nice voice, low and soothing...

"No more 'screw the world'. No more pushing away the people who love you to save yourself hurt. It doesn't work and it hurts us, too."

Nita squeezed his hand. "No more."

Kit made lazy circles on her hand with his thumb. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be. I'm the one that should be sorry. I shouldn't have yelled at you."

"You bitch-slapped me."

Nita flushed. "Sorry."

"I did kind of deserve it," Kit admitted after a minute.

"This was a cruel plot," Nita accused with a smile. Kit's heart soared.

"It worked, didn't it?"

"How much oxygen did you bring?" Nita asked instead of answering. "We must have been up here for an hour or two."

"You're a tough case," Kit shrugged. "I knew it'd take time to get anything through your thick skull."

"You know what they say about birds of a feather," Nita grinned.

"How could I put up with your insults if I didn't have a thick head?" Kit was ecstatic to have Nita joking again.

With you here, baby, I am strong.

No sign of weakness.

With you gone, baby, I am hanging by a thread.

They lapsed into another comfortable silence.

"Do you think we should go back and face the world?" Kit asked finally.

"Will you help me?"

"No problem."

"Together?" Kit asked, drawing out the coordinates to get them home.

"Together," Nita confirmed.

~*~*~

Okay, okay, maybe not a real N/K. I'm working up to it. Maybe I'll do a sequel to this, if I can find a good song. (But they did hold hands for a long time... it's a start. :^D)