“Hidden” Part 2

He swore and morphed, catching her in his talons as she fell, tangible to him now as she wouldn’t be otherwise, her eyes huge and full of stars as she jerked in the visions grasp.

Her body shook and trembled as the stars swooped and wheeled in her eyes and her lips shaped words that made no sound. Harder, she shook and then harder. There was a pause and then her body arched into a bow and she screamed, a thin, tortured sound from lungs that couldn’t draw a full breath. Samuel grunted, his inability to help her a physical pain, and hugged her closer to him as she slowly relaxed, the stars receding from her eyes. He stared at her, worried, barely breathing, as she lay limp for a full thirty seconds, the time an eternity, until she drew in a ragged breath and opened brown eyes, until they focused on him, until she smiled wanly and touched his cheek.

“Bad one,” he ground out.

“Bad one,” she confirmed, closing her eyes. He said nothing else, just picked her up and carried her to her bedroom. Normally, Lizzy wouldn’t allow that kind of thing, since her bedroom was not close and being carried through hallways and up stairs tended to make people stare, but no one could see her now anyway.  No one could ever see her during or after her visions, no one except a fellow Seer, a Cousin, or Samuel. And technically he shouldn’t be able to see her either, but nothing could keep a Guardian from his ward. The enchantment that had changed him was simply too strong.

He set her down on her bed and crouched down beside her, black eyes boring into her. “What did you see?” he growled, wings half extending, cocooning them.

She shook her head, not wanting to think about it. “Lizzy,” he warned, “a vision that intense means danger. Danger means it’s my business. Tell me.”

“Darkness. I Saw darkness.” She closed her eyes, trying not to remember how deep, how just all encompassing, the darkness had been. There had been no end. “Then screams. Fire. People begging, crying, trying to get out. Someone laughing.” She drew in a deep breath, let it out slowly. “Heard someone die, felt their life end. Felt endings. Not just of life, but of possibilities. Doors closing, windows closing. Soon there will only be one possibility left and with it comes chaos, destruction and death.”

“Your death?”

“It might as well be, I think. I couldn’t See much of that, but I got the impression of being trapped and helpless. Whatever happens I will not be in a position to help.”

“What happens?” His voice got deeper every time he spoke and the room grew darker, his power solidifying the shadows.

“I don’t know. I only saw generalities. I can’t control the visions, you know that.” She was silent for a long time, listening to his growls as he considered the implications of what she’d said. She sighed and said “I have to do it again, don’t I.” It was not a question.

“Won’t tell you what to do.”

Lizzy dredged up a smile. No, he wouldn’t. It would never even occur to him to request that she go back into the fog.

“If people are going to die, then I have to try to stop it… But then they’ll know. They’ll know I can still do it.” She shook her head, squeezed her eyes shut. “I don’t know if I can do that. I can’t let people know. All that’s keeping me safe is that people have no idea I can still See.”

“All?” It was a deep rumble, ripe with laughter and she didn’t have to look over to see the cocked eyebrow, the laughing eyes.

She laughed quietly and said “Well, almost all. What are we going to tell people? I won’t be back in the world for days after this. I have work to do, deadlines to meet. People will notice that I’m gone.”

There was a long silence where neither said anything and thought much. Lizzy lay there, thinking about doom, futility and curses and next to her, she could feel Sam thinking about death, violence and protecting her at all costs, including blood. Guardians were like that. As long as their ward was safe, the whole world could burn as far as they were concerned.

“Maybe we can say that I’m sick.” She said it without much conviction. After all, that wouldn’t work for the days it would take. Eventually, people would be dropping by to see if she was okay. And then, when they couldn’t see her, couldn’t hear her, couldn’t perceive her in any way, they would know. They would know that her Sight had never left, that she was still a viable Seer and then it would be all over. The demands would start again, the pressing, the persuasion, and eventually, the threats. They would find something that she cared about and use it as a lever. It had happened before and, sure as if she had Seen it, she knew it would happen again if she wasn’t careful.

“I can keep them away,” Sam growled.

Lizzy lifted her head to look at him. “That will just reinforce what they think of you. It will make them more determined to take you away.”

“Let them try. I go where I want, I protect who I deem worthy. They try to change that, they will regret it.”

Her face softened and touched his cheek. “I love you sweety. I don’t know what I would do without you.”

“You don’t have to worry about that. Just get back to the world.”

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Hidden, Part 1

This is a fantasy story. I won’t tell you too much about it, I want you to experience it as it happens to you, but it does have fantasy elements while I tried to keep the rest as realistic as I could. Please comment and critique as you will, I welcome anyone’s opinion.

She had known for years that it would come to this. The signs had been haunting her, more persistently and clearer than any other. They had been little things, to begin with. The sound of a motor, the feel of rain, the brief taste of dirt and grit in her mouth, the brief wheeling sight of headlights and silver, all had followed, singly and together, for years. On and on, until she had thought she was going mad. Not that going mad per se would have been a surprise to anyone, but until the last couple months, when she couldn’t close her eyes without seeing headlights and starlight turn the shimmering curtain of rain into silver, she had felt quite sane, quite grounded. Unlike her mother, she never lost track of the day and time, never forgot when she was Dreaming and when she woke. But to so totally lose yourself to a vision… she now understood what plagued her mother, more so than she ever had while watching her rocking and whispering to nothing.

Lizzy lay on the ground, blinking the rain from her eyes and trying to orient herself. The car had come from there, and her transport was there, so that meant that he would come from there… right? Oh, her head hurt. Wasn’t it time? Surely it was time? No. No. First there was-

A crack of thunder echoed, chasing the lightning across the sky, and then there he was, blocking out the rain. His eyes seemed so much darker than she knew they really were, his skin whiter from the frigid downpour. “Elizabeth? Look at me. I need to see your eyes. I need to see your pupils,” he demanded, voice deep and gravelly. Deeper than he had intended probably, but it was so dark he likely couldn’t help it.

Desperately she tried to focus her eyes but her head hurt so much and the lights were getting brighter, the rain louder and she was falling, falling down and-

                “You have to be careful Lizzy,” her mother warned. She was trying so hard to focus; it almost hurt to see her. Lizzy nodded dutifully, trying to be silent and still, trying not break her mother’s concentration. She so rarely saw her mother’s eyes clear anymore.

                “You have to fight to keep them separate from you; otherwise they’ll run you over. No matter what the Suits tell you, don’t let them run you over, don’t immerse yourself. You’ll never pull yourself out. No matter what the Suits tell you, it is never worth it. They’ll take anything from you that they can get. Don’t give them more than they can force from you. And never let them know that there is more for them to take. Because they will. Be careful, so very careful, and hide. You have to hide. Do you understand? Hide as deep and as carefully as you can.”

The echo of her mother’s desperation followed Lizzy back up into consciousness as Samuel shook her, ignoring the first rule of head injuries. She knew he knew it, she had Seen him take the class, but still he shook her, yelling her name louder and louder.

“Shh… I can hear you” she mumbled. Not a true vision then, but a sending. Her mother knew what had happened and was warning her. “You’re here to rescue me right?”

“Yes,” he said, sounding a little surprised despite everything. He knew what she was, yet apparently he hadn’t believed, not really. “I need you to get up. Come on, up, up,” he grunted the words while leveraging her up. The world spun and she grimly held onto her dinner. She didn’t enjoy vomiting generally and now, with this headache, it would be excruciating.

“We have to get out of here. They’re coming… quickly. Four, no, three miles away. That way, we need to go that way.” she said, pointing to the trees, stumbling over nothing. “We have to- oh God. Go! Go now!” They were almost on them, the Suits were almost there. She lurched as fast as she could to the forest, almost falling until he picked her up and ran.

Two minutes later, a black SUV pulled up and men in suits poured out of it, looking around, pulling apart the wreckage and strapping the unconscious driver into a gurney. Others swept out in wider and wider circles, flashlights blindingly bright in the darkness, yelling for Elizabeth to answer, to come back. She didn’t answer, wouldn’t have even if she could hear them, but now, slung in the arms of her rescuer, moving away at a rapid pace, still woozy and only partially in this world, she was in no state to answer. And by the time they got someone to call for her any other way, she was long gone.

Two years later

Lizzy felt the beginnings of a vision tug at her but, by now, she was so used to ignoring them that it was hardly any effort to hold it back, to remain totally in this world. Her smile only a little tight, she smiled at Adam and handed him the papers.

“These should have what you’re looking for. I’ll have a look through the rest of the library later, see what I can find, but that at least should get you started.” She kept her voice even, her tone light. She didn’t want him knowing how often she had to fight them back, didn’t want to remind him just how different she was. He had had enough evidence of it, had seen her flickering in and out as she fought her way back to the world. Now he thought she was all better, and she figured it was best that it stayed that way. No need to let him know.

He smiled back at her, gorgeous brown eyes warm on her as he took the stack she was handing him, his hand brushing hers. “Thank you so much, Lizzy. I don’t know what we would do without you.”

She blushed and looked away. “Well… you’re welcome.” Her smile flickered a little and she turned away. “So, uh, when do you head out again?” She glanced at him, immediately looked away. “I mean, so I know when you need the rest of the research?”

“In a few days. We need to get that phoenix from them as soon as we can but we’re having a hard time finding some of the equipment. Dad thinks he has a line on some though so it might be sooner,” he smiled at her, and leaned closer, staring into her eyes. “So, as soon as possible I guess. I know you have a lot on your plate, but if you could move this up the list…” A dimple made itself known as he poured it on.

She smiled, laughed a little to let him know she wasn’t taking him seriously, and nodded. “I’ll see what I can do.” As he walked out, she blew out a breath and shook her head at herself. She was a fool. But, she comforted herself; at least she knew she was a fool. Too many never figured that out about themselves. Shaking her head, she walked into the stacks to finish cataloging.

“Still getting googly- eyed over the golden boy?” a voice asked next to her ear.

She smiled reflexively and said “No, just a little residual glow.” Turning her head as she spoke, for a second, all that she could see was green, dark, dark green with flecks of gold. Blinking, she backed up and smiled again because she couldn’t do otherwise around him. “And what are you doing spying on me again? Weren’t you reassigned? ”

“They can reassign me all they want. I’m your Guardian. I protect you. I don’t care what they say.” A growl roughened his voice and his eyes darkened as he said this. If there had been anyone else in the library right then, he probably would have morphed completely. As it was, the lights still dimmed a little, impact from his power.

She looked down, at his bare, clawed feet. “I don’t think they fully thought through what they were doing, when they tried to move you.” Guardians were stubborn, and loyal to few. To try to switch that loyalty at a whim… “Maybe they weren’t. They were just… concerned,” she said the last on a sigh. Sam said nothing, used to her external musings. “You have been more protective than is normal you know.” Dark green met her eyes again, the gold flecks all but gone now.

“They barely know what is normal. I protect you. That is all they need to know.”

She smiled again, sadly now. “I hardly need protecting these days. I barely leave the library. The biggest dangers I face are dust and paper cuts.”

“No, you are in danger. I don’t know how, but you are.” Absolute certainty colored his voice and his eyes darkened further, barely green anymore. Guardians knew when their wards were in danger, sometimes with greater accuracy than even she could provide.

“Okay, calm down.” She kept her voice soft and even. Touching his forearm, grounding him, she said “Do you have any idea what I’m in danger from? Physical? Psychic?”

“Don’t know,” he growled, “but soon. Very soon.”

“Okay, then. It’s a good thing you’re here, right?” she smiled into his obsidian eyes in the gloom, his grey skin tough against her fingers.

“Yes. Yes. I am here. I will keep the danger away.” As he said this the room lightened a little and his skin grew pinker, giving a little under her hand.

“Good,” she said and gave him her brightest smile, watching for the sparks in his eyes. As he gave her a slight smile in response they flared to life and she breathed a small sigh in relief. “Now that you’re here you can help me move all the new acquisitions to their homes. You know how much I enjoy having you around to help.”

Sam’s smile never changed but the sparks in his eyes grew brighter and she swore she saw a slight crinkling at the corners. “Then it is good indeed.”

….

As she moved away Sam tried not to follow her too closely. He had missed her so much. It was so hard for one of his kind to be away from that which was theirs. But for her, he had tried. They had said it wasn’t right, that he stood too close, that he watched too close, that he didn’t let others near, that she needed less guarding, more openness. They sent him away, sent him to guard some pathetic who didn’t deserve a Guardian. And every day he could feel it coming closer, pulling her in further, that strange nebulous danger. He didn’t know what it was but he would. He would find it and he would destroy it. No one would touch her while he was there, and if they tried to send him away… It would be best for all if they didn’t try that. He was sure they would see the wisdom of this and leave them be.

“I mostly have them catalogued; now it’s just a matter of muscle. You still remember the layout right?” Her voice was still soft, still soothing. She tried to calm him, to protect him. It never failed to surprise him that she would do that.

“Of course.” He forgot very little in the usual run of things. This, her surroundings, the means to keeping her safe, he would never forget.

“Good” and he saw her smile again, something she did so often but this time it seemed different. Strained somehow but he couldn’t imagine what would cause that. Him, maybe? Maybe they were right? His presence was bad for her? Self-doubt was alien to him usually but now- “Do you require something? You look upset.”

Lizzy blinked and then blushed and looked down. “I’d almost forgotten how observant you are. It’s nothing, just a vision. It’s being unusually persistent is all. Won’t stop trying,” she smiled, trying to brush off his concern. And she would have succeeded too, if she hadn’t flickered and then fully disappeared just a moment later.

More coming soon!