Stasis

Part One: Rise and Shine, Sleeping Beauty

A/N- Valentine's Day is here and CAT has been inspired to show some YW coupling love. Before you ask, oui, I'm working on updating my other more popular fics, but this idea has been buzzing around in my head for a while now and I can't evict it. Plus, I missed the YW section too much to ignore it for long. Anyway, I'm departing a bit from WaW canon for this. I've always wondered how Ronan suddenly snapped out of Nita's super-charged stasis spell and thought it was an ideal time to do a bit of a Carmonan (which is the pet name I've decided on for the Carmela-Ronan coupling) fic. Just sit back, don't ask too many questions and (hopefully) enjoy. Basically, it's just going to be a collection of two two-part midlength shorts, unless I decide to do more. Next up will be DairRosh (another petname) if I get enough response. A warning, though: these aren't exactly cheery fluff. In fact, they may turn out a bit dark. Anyways, I heart concrit. And all reviews, really. What can I say? I'm a review-whore. Oh, the shame. XD

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Even through the haze of sleep, Ronan was dimly aware of the concerned crowd hovering around him. And, truthfully, he was rather annoyed. After the events of the last couple of days, he felt that he deserved to sleep in without being bothered. He briefly considered whether he should say something scathing to scare them away, but in the end, he didn't care enough to expend the energy. Still groggy, he mentally shrugged and started to slip back into the blissful state of half-sleep that you have when it's the first day of summer break and you know that you don't have to wake up. Or, at least, he tried to. It's kind of hard to sleep when you're being stared at like a zoo animal. Annoyed, he tried to open his mouth and tell them to bugger off, but his traitorous muscles ignored his commands completely. A sickening feeling of dread swept over him and he desperately focused on opening his eyes, but it felt like someone had swapped his eyelids with lead weights. He ran a quick check of the rest of his body, which was just as disobedient.

Bloody Hell... he thought, panic rising and trying to fight off the hazy in-between feeing that was still trying to take over, telling him to take a nice long sleep. He didn't want to think about how long of a nap it'd be if he gave in to it. Before he even had to time finish the thought, the space behind his eyes pixelated and scattered, leaving vague neon afterimages. They were the last things he saw before slipping under the surface of the insistent waves of sleep.

"Interesting..." Matt murmured softly, his Australian accent slurring slightly in exhaustion from the major healing spell he'd just performed.

All across the millions of homeworlds, one of the most unnerving things is to hear a doctor say that your-- or, in this instance, your friend's-- case is 'interesting'.

Matt looked up and brushed his sandy blonde hair out of his eyes. A dozen eyes were trained on him in apprehension.

"It's just that... now that I've released my spells, he be should recovering from the effects of the stasis. And yet..."

They all looked at Ronan, who was still stubbornly paralyzed.

"To be honest, I'm stumped. He's not responding to anything, and I've tried everything I know." he paused for a moment and looked truly mournful, "...I'm not even sure if what we're looking at has any Ronan left in it. Sometimes the husks hold on for a while after.. I mean, the Spear of Luin could have..."

A swift silence descended over everyone in the room at the bleak prognosis. For a second, Tom's face flickered between several emotions before he put on his best serious-but-reassuring face. Beside him, Carl just stared impassively at the stiff body floating a foot above the Callahan's old kitchen table in the musty basement. Nita paled and sought Kit's hand for solace, who did the same. Their palms met and instantly locked in a slightly sweaty embrace and Kit squeezed Nita's hand softly. He could feel her steady pulse quicken as she clenched her other hand and her nails bit into her skin. On the outskirts of the small crowd, Dairine opened her mouth to protest, but all that made it out of the talkative wizard's mouth was a weak hiccup of a whimper. She clenched her jaw defiantly and glared at the others, daring them to say anything about it. Nobody did, but they all noticed how she was gazing into the distance, almost certainly thinking of another person who was presumed dead, another casualty of the war. In a corner well out of the way, Mr. Callahan paced distraughtly, occasionally shooting the leather-clad boy a sorrowful look, then immediately looking away. Carmela was the only one who didn't look mournful. In fact if there was one thing she looked like, it was a particularly deadly viper. She stamped a foot, and her molasses eyes flashed with equal parts frustration and anger.

"So what, you're all just going to give up on him?" she hissed venomously. "After all he did for--"

She choked on her words and Matt flinched slightly and held up his hands appeasingly.

"Easy on, there. I didn't say anything definite; I was just giving you the worst-case scenario.Who knows how much power he had running through him. I'm surprised Nita could even muster a strong enough stasis spell to save him from bleeding out." he cocked his head slightly, "Actually, how did you do that? I don't think any of the basics could have worked on him."

As he spoke, Matt ventured a sidelong glance at Nita, who seemed to be trying to make herself unnoticeable. She took a tentative step back at the mention of her name and pretended to be absorbed in toying with one of her chestnut curls. The Australian healer tried to get her to meet his gaze, but when she noticed his attention, she looked embarrassed, then stared resolutely at the grey cement basement floor. Her reaction reminded him a little of a caged animal: wary and stubborn and fierce, but she eventually answered and when she did, she didn't let her voice betray her feelings.

"It was all kind of a blur. The peridexis effect told me what to do and all I did was listen to it."

Carl glanced at her a little more sharply than usual.

"You said it told you? That... doesn't seem possible. It's just a strengthening of magic, not an actually entity." he said, as if trying to convince himself.

Beside him, Tom furrowed his eyebrows.

"Are you sure it wasn't just something you remembered from your manual?"

Frustrated, Nita raked her free hand through her hair and realized from the residual grease that she hadn't had a proper shower since they'd come back. Immediately after the thought flitted through her mind, she horribly selfish for thinking of something so petty while Ronan was lying in front of her half-dead.

"I know what happened... I just can't explain it."

Tom's voice turned insistent and he advanced towards Nita and laid both hands on her shoulders, trapping her in his gaze. Nita's father and Kit both took steps forward before Tom regained control and backed away.

"Nita... we need to know if the spell was unusual in any way."

"Besides the voice inside my head, you mean?"

Nita favored her senior with a classic adults-don't-understand exasperated look and Tom sighed and rubbed his face exhaustedly.

"I'm sorry I snapped at you, Nita. I'm.." he glanced at Carl who nodded almost imperceptibly, "...We're just worried that someThing might be trying to control you."

An awkward silence descended upon the room again and Kit put a reassuring hand on Nita's arm. Even so, her face remained stony.

"You don't mean... Him?"

Dairine's lips puckered as though the words were physically distasteful. For a long moment, neither of the seniors said anything, but the way their closed eyelids fluttered in perfect unison betrayed to the other wizards that they were having a private conversion with mindtouch. Finally, Tom spoke up, looking reluctant and pained.

"It's possible. There's nothing He likes better than controlling a wizard, especially one of his enemies. You should know that better than anyone, Nita."

Nita's grey eyes widened and flared as she realized the full implications of what her seniors were saying and Kit stepped protectively between Nita and the two older men as if by doing so he could shield her from their words.

"That's not possible!" Kit snapped angrily, his hispanic accent heavy, "The peridexis effect helped us to free the Hesper. Without it, Nita, Sker'ret, and Carmela would have been killed by His minions at the Crossings. What you're saying doesn't make any sense."

Tom ignored the younger wizard and turned to Matt.

"If you want to go home, you can. I've sent for relief for you. Simone should be here by morning. She's the highest ranked healer on the continent who's already recovered fully from the pullulus. If you want to stay to help her, though, you're welcome. Kit, Nita, we can continue this discussion upstairs, but I don't think this is the proper place." Tom glanced toward Ronan's prone body again.

"Besides," Carl said, trying hard to seem cheerful, "it's been a hard day for all of us. Why don't we all get some lunch and take a break? I heard rumors that your chef of a mom sent over a roast chicken, Kit."

Kit nodded grudgingly and the group slowly made its way up the stairs. All except one, at least.

Carmela lingered by Ronan's side even after the others disappeared. She wasn't worried about Nita and her brother-- they could handle themselves. But him... he was different. He didn't have a partner to protect him or to give him a vigil and she found that she just couldn't leave him in the dank basement alone. Without someone at his side, the scene looked too much like a wake. Resolute, she drew closer and gazed at his body curiously. Had he not been floating in mid-air, she would have assumed from looking at his serene expression that he was just napping like an exhausted preschooler. She'd never really seen him when his face was completely blank and she realized that he was even better-looking than she'd thought. She reached out and couldn't help but delicately trace the line of his jaw up to where it met his thick shock of dark hair. Afterwards, she was immediately embarrassed that she did.

"Carmela, get ahold of yourself." she muttered under her breath, "He may be all vulnerable and bishie and near-dead and helpless and-- totally hot-- but think of the weird hybrid your kids would end up being. Who's ever heard of a Irexican? They'd be... " she cut herself off before she could ramble anymore.

Instead, she moved closer to the paralyzed wizard and did something that she would never have had the courage to if he were awake. She leaned forward and when she did, her long hair fell over her eyes and the ends brushed his nose. Only a few inches separated them now. After some hesitation, she looked around guiltily and quickly kissed him, barely more than a peck. His lips were dry and cold and tasted vaguely of bile, and she briefly wondered if it meant that she was a necrophiliac, but she quickly dismissed that thought. It seemed right. Plus, he wasn't dead yet.

"Rise and shine, sleeping beauty." she murmured against his lips.

Suddenly, the space behind her eyes pixelated and scattered, leaving vague neon afterimages. She crumpled in a heap on the cold floor, but before she even hit, she was unconscious.

A/N2- Ah, cliffies. So, believe it or not, this is going to be the lighter, cheerier part of the fic. DaiRosh is... somber. Yeah, weird for me, I know. Don't worry, there will be a few moments of comic relief the chapter after next. I blame the seriousness on me giving up sweets for Lent. No candy during the chocolate holiday makes a girl do crazy things. Also, sorry if there were any spelling errors. My keyboard's gone haywire and I all I have is no-spell-checky wordpad. Sure, I could go online and find one, but where's the fun in that?
And remember, kids-- even if you don't have a date for the VD (this is what CAT decrees you must call Valentine's Day because it's funnier), be happy you aren't in the YWiverse. If you were, your significant other would either be dead, missing, or completely oblivious to your feelings. Or an all-powerful author would dangle romance in front of your eternally teenaged face for twenty years. I'm looking at you, DD. My single readers: you don't have it so bad now, eh?

Well, seeing as it's the day of peace and love and whatnot, I won't even torture the periwinkle buttons to coerce reviews from you. Aww, heart-warming.