Shadow: Sorry about the delay in updating. I guess time just got away with me with the start of the new semester. I'll try and have the next chapter up soon as well since it' already in progress.
Chapter Fifteen: Rehabilitation
"Still feeling like you're going to barf?"
"Not really," mumbled Garet as he struggled to sit up.
"Hey, take it easy," Isaac cautioned as he placed a supportive hand on his friend's shoulder. One week had passed since their attack and Garet had been slowly recovering from the toxin from the darts. Slowly, he was progressing towards recovery. "You keep pushing yourself. Don't make yourself sick again."
"I'm fine, don't worry about me," Garet replied as he shrugged Isaac's hand away. "We need to get back to sea. I've kept us here too long." He placed a hand against the straw mattress and pushed himself up.
Isaac opened his mouth to reply, but Garet began to sway, and he grabbed him quickly before he crashed down to the floor. "For Venus's sake!" he yelled. "Here, I'm going to help you back to the ship. I'm not going to let you wreck yourself."
Garet managed a weak smile as he and Isaac limped out of the hut for the first time since the attack. The sun felt good against his pale skin and for a moment, he felt like he could float all the way up to the clouds. That's when he thought of Jenna. In between bouts of vomiting and feverish nightmares, he remembered the moments when Jenna sat at his side, placing a cool towel against his forehead. Though Garet strongly disliked feeling patronized, he enjoyed every moment of Jenna's care. But before Garet could get too lost in his daydreams, Isaac gave him a nudge.
"Pick up your feet. I can't drag you all by myself," he laughed.
At the ship, the group clapped for Garet as he left Isaac's side and walked over to them by himself. He saw Jenna standing near her brother and felt himself gravitating toward her presence. She gave him an awkward smile when she noticed he was walking towards her. "Glad to see you're feeling better," she laughed. "Try not to be a hero next time."
After a week on land, Jenna had become accustomed to the constant steadiness under her feet. The pitch and roll of the sea was a long lost friend to her as she made her way down the hall. These waters seemed especially foreign to her now—it had been years since they had been this far north in the Eastern Sea. Felix was set on finding his way back to Lemuria in the hopes of finding his lost companion. But without the Lemurian's guidance, it was becoming a near impossibility to find their way back to the lost city.
"Hello?" Garet asked from behind his bedroom door. Jenna knocked quietly before entering.
"It's just me," she said as she poked her head inside.
"Oh!" He quickly began gathering up some papers, which were scattered across his bed. In the process, some fluttered toward the ground out of reach.
Jenna bent down to offer help. "Please, don't!" Garet shouted. Papers in hand, she looked back at him with a puzzled expression.
"Sorry for intruding on such a private affair," she scoffed as she handed the papers back to him. She had a suspicion as to what this was all about, but she tried not to think about it as she began to leave.
"Jenna," he began. "I'm sorry for yelling. It's just that…this was supposed to be for you." He began to fumble with the papers in an attempt to put them in some type of order. Jenna turned around to watch him. "It's a thank-you note."
Never before had she seen him so nervous. "A thank you for what?"
"For helping to take care of me when I was sick?" he said in a matter-of-fact way. "Don't feel too special, I was writing one for everyone."
"So, were you using your new extended vocabulary to write my letter?" she jabbed as she walked back over to him. With a devilish smile, she leaned over to try to peek at her letter. "You did say you were trying to impress me."
"I did?" Garet noticed Jenna's advances and quickly snatched the paper away. "It's not finished yet."
"Well let me proof-read the others for you while you finish mine," she offered as she attempted to take the others from him.
"That's quite alright," he said smugly. "I was using my dictionary, so there are no spelling errors."
Jenna laughed as she leapt towards him. He stepped back to avoid her, dangling the papers just out of reach. Their playful teasing eventually turned to roughhousing and Jenna tackled the still sickly Garet. He began to lose his balance and reached for Jenna's arm as he began to fall backwards. Too heavy for her to support, he took her with him and they both fell onto the bed in a giggly mess.
"You let me take you down like that," Jenna laughed as she slapped him on the chest.
"Me? Never," Garet smirked. She narrowed her eyes at him and crossed her arms. Wisps of hair fell onto her face while she lay next to him and he couldn't resist the urge to brush them back for her. Her expression softened as his hand lingered near her face.
"Garet, are you really trying to impress me?" she asked softly.
"Maybe." The moment felt right and he knew he had to act. He slowly inched his face closer towards hers. Jenna did the same as they were pulled towards each other. Their lips met briefly before they both drew back to examine each other.
"Do you think it worked?" she whispered. And like two magnets, their lips met once again, only with more passion.
"I think so," Garet replied once they parted. He wore the biggest smile as he gazed back at Jenna. Shyly, she returned a smile. They stared at each other for a moment, taking in what just happened.
"Jenna, I…" Garet began. He had to tell her now. The words were just slipping off his tongue and were beyond his control. But before they loosed themselves, Jenna sprang up and ran from the room in a crimson streak. Garet sat up and watched the door slam. "Jenna!" He leapt up and followed her out into the hallway. Her auburn ponytail bounced into a doorway and the door slammed shut behind it.
On the other side of the door, Jenna stood bewildered. She was unaware of her roommate sitting up in bed, looking equally as confused. "Jenna? What's going on?"
"The weirdest thing just happened," she stammered, acknowledging Sheba's presence. The Jupiter adept's eyes grew wide with curiosity. "I just kissed Garet."
Sheba's jaw dropped. "You kissed him?"
"He kissed me, I kissed him," she moaned as she flopped down on her bed. "I don't know! We were joking around about something and then all of a sudden we were kissing."
"Interesting development. I had a feeling," she began. Jenna shot a furious look at her. "OK, maybe I knew because I read his mind that he cares about you," she babbled, waving her hands.
"But I don't think I care about him as anything more than one of my best friends. Sheba, what am I going to do?"
"You don't have any feelings for him?" Jenna began to feel Sheba creeping into her mind while questioning her.
"Don't," she said, slamming her mind shut.
"You have to feel something, Jenna. Why else would you have let him kiss you? At least acknowledge those feelings." Jenna sighed and buried her face into her pillow. The battle against Valukar replayed in her memory.
"Flash!" Jenna shut her eyes as she waited for the inevitable. But when she heard a louder cry come from the beast, she opened her eyes. Garet was standing over her, a Mars Djinni at his command. When the firewall disappeared, he turned back and gave her a smile.
"Garet?" she stammered.
"It's OK," he replied. "I won't let him…"
"Look out!" she shouted. Garet spun around and saw a wave of flames coming towards him. He quickly raised his hand and cast Protect, but he still received some of the damage from the Mars summon. Jenna picked up the Atropos Rod lying beside her and aimed it at Valukar. "Life Shear!" Her most prized weapon did not fail her as the golden Fury leapt forth.
The force of her attack sent Valukar flying back. She could see the energy draining from his body as he struggled to collect himself. She looked down at the weapon clenched in her hands. Never before had she felt so much power come from it. 'Where did you come from?' she asked the weapon surreptitiously.
"Jenna," Garet's voice stammered. "That attack, it was amazing!" She looked back at him. He was kneeling on the ground, clutching his arm and grimacing in pain. His right arm was covered in burns and cuts.
"Cool Aura." She placed her hands on his wounds and smiled at him. "Thank you for protecting me."
"I won't let you get hurt," he said sternly. His eyes grew wide with fear again as he saw Valukar lumber towards them. He quickly drew Jenna close to him and cast another Protect spell as Valukar brought his hammer down. She wasn't sure if it was because of Garet's spell or simply the heat of battle, but Jenna felt a warm sensation come over her body. Not only was this feeling comforting, it was safe.
"Interesting yet again," Sheba mused. Jenna jumped a little when she realized Sheba had been witnessing the same memories simultaneously. "About the Atropis Rod, of course."
"I've never felt so much power come from it before," she replied, following Sheba's lead.
"See? You felt something." Sheba gave Jenna an encouraging nod before returning to her book.
It was Isaac's turn at the helm that night. Felix had explained to him the course to Lemuria, but Isaac felt more lost than ever before. He kept looking down at the map at his side and up at the stars to confirm their location. He heard heavy footsteps behind him and looked up to see Garet standing beside him.
"What am I doing?" he sighed.
"Good question. What are you doing? It's late and you should be in bed," Isaac laughed as he looked at the vast sea ahead of them.
"No, I mean with Jenna," Garet sighed again. Isaac rolled his eyes as he waited for it. "I kissed her."
Isaac was suddenly interested. "You did? What happened?"
"She ran away," he moaned. "I tried to tell her, but the minute I opened my mouth, she ran off!"
Isaac was about to reply, when a cannonball whizzed above his head. There was a loud explosion as it splintered the mast. "Not again," Isaac growled as he turned to face their aggressor. A fleet of ships was gaining on them fast.
"What's going on?" Felix shouted as he ran towards them. Another cannonball struck the water beside the ship. He looked back to examine the fleet growing ever closer. "I know those banners," he mused as he inspected the ships. "It's Alhafra. They never give up, do they?"
"Duck!" Isaac shouted as another cannonball struck the remnants of the mast, sending a shower of splinters down upon them. The barrage continued as the Dusk Rider tried desperately to escape.
"We have to return fire!" Felix commanded. He ran towards the cannon and motioned towards Isaac and Garet. "Get me ammunition. I won't lose Picard's ship."
Felix loaded the ship's single cannon and fired. His shot missed, landing in the sea beside the first opposing ship. They returned fire, striking the left wing. With a curse beneath his breath, Felix fired again. By now, everyone onboard was awake, standing on the deck prepared to fight in anyway that he or she could. His second shot was successful in inflicting minimal damage. Before he had time to react, there was an explosion at the stern of the ship feet away from him. The ship gave a creak and then a moan as it began to sink slowly.
"Now what do we do?" Sheba moaned as she clung to Ivan.
"We can only hope Alex will spare us," Ivan sighed as the first Alhafran ship pulled up beside them.