Fresh, Now

This is what Ella and Drum left behind.

Drabbleish, oneshotish, spoilers alert. Written on a whim after finishing the book - it's a good read.

version 1.4, updated 100109

Janis looked up from her textbook into the eyes of Mr Gold. The sun was bright in the courtyard outside, but Mr Gold gazed intently at — the branch of a tree? His eyes shone a pretty gold, and she thought: how fitting! Janis liked school very much, and her favorite class was English, which Mr Gold taught. She loved to listen to his wild tales of winged creatures and armored armies and brave children who fought them. His eyes would light up, and the class would be kept at the edge of their seats.

The bell rang. Janis shut the book in front of her, scooping The Change: Ninde and Gold-Eye's Adventures by Linda Gold into her Barbie backpack. 'Bye bye, Mr Gold!' She called, dashing out with the other seven-year-olds into the afternoon. Her school was old and battered, but she liked it all the same. Especially when Mr Gold brought it into his stories and named it the Dorms where the brave children always lived. 'Mrs Gold is waiting!'

'Bye bye,' Gold-Eye smiled to the receding figure and turned back to the grass and the trees. His mind was playing tricks on him again. Deja vu, they called it; the shimmer of sun upon a tree branch and he thought he felt the grip of a soon-to-be-now.

He collected his own books. In the hallway, the masses of students in this full school streamed from every classroom. Laughter, security, happiness. They were going home, but so was he.

Outside, Ninde stood with the older Drum and younger Ella in each hand. He stayed invisible for a while, appreciating the streaks of gold and brown in her hair he'd never had time to stop and notice before. She released her grip on Drum as Gold-Eye appeared in the parking lot, wrapping her slender fingers around her husband's wrist. 'Gold-Eye!' She pulled him into an embrace. He frowned slightly at the slip of his old name and Ninde forgetting 'Ivan' in public, but Ninde's joy was always infectious. 'Look, isn't the cover on my new book beautiful? Oh, and Ella's scored a hundred percent on her math test, and Drum made the basketball team!'

He kissed her long hair and took Drum in his hand instead, smoothly starting his car. On their way home, they stopped by a florist for a bouquet of red spider lilies to remember twelve years since their friends' sacrifice. Ninde was going on about her books possibly going platinum, red carpet premieres; Ella and Drum were fighting over the last chocolate bar, and they were going home.

At night, when Ella and Drum were safely tucked into bed with their Witch-Lights by their side, Gold-Eye would coax a well-chewed knuckle out of Ninde's mouth. Some nights, when a bout of memory or an unfamiliar scene hit Gold-Eye, Ninde shook him gently out of his thoughts. And she'd whisper that the past was gone with his soon-to-be-nows, and all they had was — with one lucky chance — right now.