Finding Myself

Chapter 2

A/N- Well, I'm back again after quite a long hiatus. Isn't it amazing? Well, I hope that as a reward I get lots of reviews! –sigh- I've missed this section. Beware: this is my angst-venting story, unlike all my others, so know it's a bit out of my norm to be writing this style. I'm a bit rusty, so be nice. ;P Also, know that since I finished WaW, I've had the uncontrollable urge to use my find option to replace all the Kits in the story with Dairines and all the Nitas with Roshaun. XD I can't help myself…

Carmela retreated back up to her room, feeling the horrible pang of emptiness that always seemed to emanate from Kit since Nita had gone. She knew that it had been a cruel thing to say. Kit couldn't take someone telling him that his best friend and partner had died. It was just that she had wanted him to respond somehow, to lash out at her. At least then he'd be showing some emotion. It hadn't worked, though. He'd retreated, just as he always did now. This cold, hopelessness was more than she could bear from her formerly cheery brother. It was almost understandable, though. He'd lost most everything especially dear to him in the last few weeks; first Nita, then his magic and with it any possibility of saving Nita. That is, assuming she was still alive, an impossible chance at best. Still, that miniscule probability had become the only thing keeping him going and the obsession over it soon took him over. Over the weeks, Carmela had sensed from a distance the growing desperation that was consuming her brother. Before long, she knew he'd do something dangerously rash, like trying to find her. And that something that would probably kill him.

'And I can't allow my little brother to do that to himself.' she vowed to herself.

It was, in a way, odd to be feeling this protective toward Kit again. When he was younger, she'd always felt like his defender. When the older kids had picked on him because of his accent or intelligence, she had rarely failed to come to his rescue. She hadn't been afraid to let his tormenters know that she could easily make them suffer just as much as they had her brother. After all, making friends had never been a problem for her, and in high school, just like in the real world, influential friends can sway anyone to your opinion. However, suddenly around the time he hit twelve, just when the teasing was getting even out of her control, Kit had met Nita, and together they formed a partnership that seemed to deflect any cruelness anyone tried to throw at them. From that time forward, though she hadn't known why, it almost began to feel that he had gained the power to protect her in a way significantly more important than she had for him. It simultaneously had delighted Carmela and made her feel useless. Her role had been played out, but her brother was happy, and that was what she'd wanted all along. It wasn't until later that she had learned about his wizardry.

For a while she'd been jealous, even angry that she hadn't been the one chosen, but as she saw what he'd had to face as a part of the reception of his power, she saw just how much he'd grown and it awed her. The responsibility he'd carried with Nita was enough to crush a normal person, but he had wielded it with a bashful grace. Until the day he'd lost Nita, that is. He'd tried desperately for days to cast various tracking spells, but without her, he didn't have enough power to get her back It had abandoned him, and now the thing that had once been his savior had sent him spiraling into a deeper depression than he'd ever faced. And Carmela had finally regained her role to her brother again. She wouldn't let him throw his life away after all he'd done for her and the planet.

She wasn't sure how, but she was going to do everything in her power to help him return to who he once was, and that began with gaining enough power to do so. Without giving the matter any more thought, she headed straight for the living room to begin researching.

Meanwhile, Kit wiped the last of the dampness from his eyes as he approached the high shrubs that blocked the neighbors from looking into the yard of the two area seniors. He'd sent Ponch home after the last time he'd gone back to the alternate universe that still contained Nita. When Ponch had run out of strength to maintain the illusion and he had lost her again, he realized that he had to take matters into his own hands. It was then that he decided that he had to come here. He stalked up the well-manicured lawn with both fists clenched in determination. They'd undoubtedly try to stop him, but nothing could dissuade him. If she was still alive- and he somehow knew she was- then the people that were supposed to look after her safety, her partner and her Seniors, should be doing so. With a final nod of resolution, he walked up to the door of the large house and pounded on the door. From within, he could hear the muffled barks of their two dogs and for a moment everything seemed normal. Perhaps he'd been imagining it all. Maybe he'd go in and Nita would be there, waiting for him so that Tom and Carl could give them the précis of their next mission together. Maybe Nita's disappearance had only been a waking dream, a dark vision from the Lone Power that had nestled itself into the corners of his soul where his deepest fear resided…

But he knew it wasn't, especially when Tom came to the door and winced barely perceptibly.

"…Dai, Kit. We've been expecting you to come and pay us a visit. Come on in, and excuse the mess." Tom said softly, guiding Kit through the door and closing it behind him, "Carl's been trying to build a bookshelf that can hold both of our manuals without breaking. Personally, I say it's a physical impossibility."

The undertone of good-natured humor had begun to seep back into Tom's voice after the initial shock of Kit showing up unexpectedly. He motioned to the only kitchen chair that wasn't being occupied by a strange combination of crude carpenter's sketches and, in the more elegant curlicue calligraphy of the Speech, Senior's notices. At any rate, he seemed out of place despite Tom's careful assurances of welcome.

"Go ahead and sit down; I'll go get Carl. Want anything to drink while you're waiting?"

"No. I'm fine." Kit murmured coldly, wondering if any of the impersonal Senior notices that tended to blink urgently every once in a while had to do with Nita.

"Really?" Tom said, raising a skeptical eyebrow.

Kit merely ignored him and continued looking at the notices until he realized what had made him feel uninvited. Even though he could make out a few words, most of the notices looked like they were written in nothing but meaningless scribbles. He'd begun to lose his grasp on the Speech. How much longer would it be before it was all wrenched out of his hands?

Power doesn't live in the heart of the unwilling…

And at that moment, he realized he'd find no help in talking to the two Seniors. They wouldn't understand or really be able to help. They'd just muster up some sympathy for his plight, say they'd done all they could to find her, and maybe subtly suggest that he should start to move on. Just like everyone else had with all of their generic sympathy cards they'd bought from the Hallmark Gold selection for $3.50. Anyways, he was no longer one of their charges; he hadn't been since he's begun to lose their common tie, magic. He silently got up and slipped out the door before Tom could return.

'Nita' he began, speaking to the invisible, inaudible presence that had haunted him since she'd gone, 'I was never strong enough to protect you. I'm sorry I've failed you again. But know wherever you are, I'll never forget you, even when the magic leaves me completely…'

He glanced around surreptitiously and headed back down the street, mostly unaware that Tom was watching him from his bay window. Once Kit was out of sight, he beckoned something with two fingers and his manual came gliding through the air, landing delicately in front of him. It obediently flipped to the contact he'd had in mind, and presented a blank message screen, which Tom filled in quickly with a short message.

Dairine… we need you to keep an eye on Kit. Now more than ever he may be susceptible to being overshadowed, and I know none of us want to go through that in addition to the misfortune that has just befallen us. Thanks.

Yours,

Tom.

Carmela blinked drearily after all the time she'd spent staring at the TV screen. Still, her research had paid off. There was one way to help Kit; something she'd never dream of doing unless she was certain it'd help him. She perused the last page of the introduction and had the entertainment center send it to the printer so she wouldn't forget or lose it. The TV's configuration changed each day and she couldn't count on it being there again tomorrow, and after all the chatting, designer chocolate bars, thorough investigations, and finally success, she wasn't prepared to go through it again. Just as she grabbed the pages from the printer, the creak of the screen door on its hinges and the subsequent crash as it flung itself into the doorframe heralded Kit's return. She took the stairs up to her room as quietly as she could taking them two at a time and stashed her find under her bed, where no one dared to look. One thing was certain: she couldn't let Kit know about her day's work. Putting on a careful semblance of non-chalantness, she flounced down the stairs to greet her brother.

A/N- Uh oh… cliffhangeriness! Sort of. Well, anyways, review and the innocent periwinkle box doesn't get attacked by a sudden wave of angst from yours truly. If I have any left in me to attack it with. Ah, the melodrama of a YW soap-opera… All the story needs is some catty older actresses with more botox in their faces than muscle and some catty younger actresses with more silicon in their blouses than… well, you get the picture. Remember, if you don't review, I throw the poor periwinkle box to the pit o' underfed actresses, and they can be mighty vicious when they smell meat.

Much love,

CAT