Disclaimer: I don't own Horatio Lyle.


Thomas was fairly okay with Lin Zi. She didn't seem to mean any immediate harm. He still wouldn't show his back to her or look her fully in the eye, but at least he wasn't in a constant state of fight or flight when in her presence. Besides, the green eyes that haunted his memories were different—Lin Zi's were too foreign, too almond-shaped.

In the end, he would call himself a fool for not believing in Mister Lyle.

In the middle, he would call himself a fool for not believing Mister Lyles's trust was misplaced.

In the beginning, Mister Lyle was calling his and Miss Teresa's names.

"Thomas, I need you to take Tess home immediately." There was an urgent tone in his voice.

"Is something wrong, Mister Lyle?" Thomas asked, Mister Lyle only called Miss Teresa 'Tess' when the situation is generally heading towards disaster.

"Yes, very; now please do as I ask."

"What's happened? Did you find the Tseiqin under the prison?"

"Yes, and things are very wrong."

Fear began to make itself known in Thomas's mind. Could the Tseiqin have escaped? Was Mister Lyle trying to get him and Miss Teresa out of harm's way?

Tess asked something to the same effect and Lyle pressed them to leave more urgently.

Then the voice spoke.

It was a voice that would never be forgotten, if only through being imprinted upon one's memory through the sheer trauma of an event. The voice like black leather if it could speak. The voice like the flow of oil across a still surface in the moonlight. The voice that commanded Thomas to kill Mister Lyle.

"I see you keep your pets, Mister Lyle."

All blood drained from Thomas's face as Lord Moncorvo's sounded from the darkness.

"Thomas, now is not the time." Lyle said gently shaking him by the shoulders, snapping him from his silence.

"My God," Thomas whispered, "she did bewitch you, didn't she? It's all gone wrong!" How could they have been so blind? Lin Zi was a Tseiqin, why would she be on their side?

Lyle tried to calm him but to no avail. "Him," Thomas hissed, eyes burning into the darkness, "He did it, he's…"

Moncorvo decided to make himself seen and drifted into the light of the carriage. He directed a humorless smile at Thomas and said with that voice that once pulled Thomas into a dream that was masking a nightmare, "Master Elwick, I am pleasantly surprised to see you endure."

In the back of Thomas's mind a voice said the man was 'pleasantly surprised' because he now had someone he could effectively scare the wits out of as Mister Lyle seemed to not be intimidated.

However, all that was registering in Thomas's conscious mind were those green, green eyes and memories he wished to forget.

A white glove with a tiny point of crimson on the very tip of the finger.

His father sitting frozen and mindless beside him as he drowned in a sea of green.

'Tell me about Horatio Lyle, boy.'

Rushing towards his friend, his mentor, with a knife outstretched.

The sudden pain of the dynamo's shock.

"Mister Lyle, You've got to make this stop! He's evil, he's the enemy, he's everything that's wrong with them." And there were a lot of things wrong about them.

Memories of being trapped as the inhuman army closes in—trying not to move, not to breathe, not to be detected as he watched in fear at the scene unfolding before him through a crack of an ajar wardrobe door.

Mister Lyle falling from that dome as the thunder roared in Thomas's ears.

"Please you've got to go back, we can't let him out! Not him!" Thomas didn't know how they would keep him from getting out, they just had.

'Kill Horatio Lyle, boy.'

"I know, lad," Lyle muttered, "I'm sorry."

The furnace exploding, flames licking the air.

The sight of Mister Lyle being dragged away.

"Sorry? He will burn everything! Please, you've got to…you can't…he said that…"

The worst of those memories—the one that caused Thomas the most shame—came to mind. It had little to do with his incoherent words, and Thomas knew the words had most likely been a lie, nevertheless…

'You are weak, boy. But I like you. You have a dream in you yet, boy.'

Thomas sagged; he vaguely noted Lyle firmly telling him this was necessary and Moncorvo commenting on the police arriving eventually. He looked wearily at Tess, "Are you ready to go home, Miss Teresa?"

"Very!" squeaked Tess, her wide eyes not having moved from Moncorvo's smiling face, apparently the man had intended intimidate more than one target. "Very, very now, please!"

"Then let's go," he murmured, turning away. "There's nothing more to be done here."

— — — — — — —

Thomas stood on the grassy hill, Tess standing beside him on his left, waiting in the dark, under the stars.

Mister Lyle came running up the hill with a grin and stopped by Thomas's right, turning just in time to see it.

'It' was a brilliant flash of light that streaked into the sky several meters before exploding into many bursts of sparks in various shapes and colors.

Lyle turned to the two, "With more fine-tuning you'll be able to make these fireworks go all the way up into the sky, and hopefully have the blasts keep their shape."

Thomas gave him a questioning look, "But why can't you?"

As the lights of the fireworks just started to slowly fade away, the smile on Lyle's face seemed to freeze and become empty, "Don't you remember, Thomas? I'm dead."

The lights faded, the dark of the night consumed all sight.

And Thomas's eyes shot open.

He struggled to regain his composure as he took stock of his surroundings. He was in the carriage on the way back from the prison and he must have fallen asleep. Mister Lyle wasn't dead, not yet.

Thomas turned to look over at Tess noted with a small bit of relief that she was in a peaceful sleep, as the carriage stopped in front of his home.

'You'll dream of my shadow, boy.'


The carriage scene dialogue was pretty much copied word-for-word from the book as I had it open the entire time I was writing this.