|Dancing With Shadows
Author: Burning-Ink PM
What would happen if you watched your best friend die? If he decided he blamed you? If he wanted revenge? And if everyone you know expected you to fix it? Well, it might go a little something like this.Rated: Fiction T - English - Suspense/Supernatural - Chapters: 15 - Words: 39,030 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 11-12-12 - Published: 06-18-12 - id: 3033614
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The first thing I noticed when I walked into History was the guard in the corner. She stood and glared at everything, her blond hair pulled back sharply. Top of her class in San Francisco, thought this job was a waste of her time, although it was the first she had gotten since she graduated. I disliked her on the spot.
On every side of me, the whispers flew. Most of them were about Kjersti, thank God. But I still felt sorry for her. Once everyone knew you had done one incredible thing, they expected the best from you. I knew how that felt.
The next few classes passed much the same way, the guards, the whispers, everything. Not all of the guards thought the same way as the first. The one in the room after History, a shorter guy who looked barely sixteen, was just grateful to have been given a good job. Nobody wants to get stuck behind a desk all day. The third was another girl, this one a brunette who was actually enjoying herself quite a bit. She knew I was a Seer and found it hilarious when she realized I was Sighting her. The fourth was another guy, this one just taking his job as serious as if he were guarding the Queen. Not a leader, but he would make a good soldier.
Gym was eventful. My friends and I had practically opposite schedules, so this was the one class I shared with any of them. Riley, Demi and I stood off to the side as a new student was introduced. To my surprise, he was a Wanderer, although he had been found a few years ago and was already caught up to the rest of us. The guard in this class annoyed me right off the bat, smiling at everyone and looking like he wasn't paying attention to his actual job, but I could tell he wasn't slacking off a bit. I guess it just irritated me how cheery and uncaring he was on the outside when on the inside he was a perfect model of vigilance. He wasn't bad to look at, either, which for some reason irked me more.
"Stop staring at him," I whispered to Demi as we grabbed a few weapons. A couple of small, light knives for me, a bow and a few arrows for her.
"I'm not staring," she hissed quickly, and dropped her eyes. A blush spread through her cheeks. "But don't pretend for a second you don't want to, either."
"It's different," I said quietly, and went to stand in front of a target. "You see muscles and sparkly blue eyes; I See a little of what he's actually like."
"A little?" she asked, and slung the quiver over her shoulder. "I thought you Saw it all."
I shrugged and raised my arm. "Not this time. He got himself charmed. Not well, there are holes, but it's holding enough that I can't see much at a first glance. If I really tried I could break through it, but that would be awkward, since I'd have to stand and stare at him for about twenty minutes before it worked."
"Yeah," she mumbled. "Awkward."
I drew my arm back and flung the knife forward. It flipped end over end and hit the dead center of the target. Demi did the same beside me with one of her arrows. We both moved back to the fifty foot line. I heard Riley talking to the new kid on the sidelines. I doubted anyone else could hear.
"Who's that?" Chance asked, and pointed at someone. I heard Riley stifle a laugh.
"Not a bad knife thrower, or not bad to look at?"
Riley chuckled a little. "She might hit you if she heard you say that."
My knife hit the center of the target and nearly knocked the first one out. I left to find a dummy that wasn't being hacked at.
"Most girls would be flattered."
"Is she gay?"
A huge laugh from Riley. "Definitely not. She just doesn't take well to compliments, or flirting, or really anything."
"She's a Seer. So as soon as she lays eyes on you, she knows your past, what you're thinking right at that moment, and a good bit of your future. She can usually find something worth pissing her off somewhere in there."
"You say that like you know her. Do you not have anything to piss her off going on in your brain?"
"I have a good lot that would probably make her a good bit angry. But I've known her since she started Seeing things, and so she charmed me and the rest of our friends before she found out everything about us. Now she only Sees things if she really tries, but normally Sees nothing about us."
"Do you think if she did that to me, so she couldn't See me, she'd be interested?"
My knife hit right between a dummy's eyes and I turned to face the boys, a smile stretching across my face.
"There's something you should know!" I called to them across the gym. "Another thing my Sight does for me is give me heightened senses, so I can hear every word you guys are saying!"
"That is scary," Chance whispered, his eyes flicking between me and the dummy with my knife in its head.
"That's Lexie," Riley said, waving to me. I waved back. "Just keep your mouth shut, don't touch her stuff, and you'll get along just fine."
My grin widened and I nodded slightly. This was one thing I kind of enjoyed about what I did- I scared the crap out of a lot of people. A lot of people. The only drawback to that was the reactions; my father disowned me when I was nine and my mother disappeared into a bottle before I could say another word. But teasing my friends was fun.
I turned back to my dummy and raised my last knife when a quiet voice spoke up behind me. "There's a better way to do that."
I frowned a little. "Not many people can sneak up on me like that."
"You don't sound surprised."
I shrugged and turned around. "I'm not, really. It wasn't really a surprise, like it would be if Kjersti or Micah came up. I knew you were there, it just wasn't front in my mind like it should have been. Who'd you get to do it, anyway, Stark or Victoria? Must have been Stark, Victoria wouldn't do an imperfect job, even if you kissed her toes and begged."
Gabriel, the really good looking guard, looked down at his toes. "It was Stark. And I asked him not to shield all of it, if he could help it."
I turned back to my dummy. "Nice to know he's not slacking off."
"You ever charmed anyone?"
I sighed and turned back to him. "You ever just let someone throw a knife?"
He shrugged. "Your aim is perfect, but there's a faster way to do it."
"I'm doing it plenty fast," I snapped. "As long as I'm actually able to throw the damn thing."
He smirked at me. "Oh, really. Put it in your pocket and let's see it, then."
He was competitive. Unfortunately, so am I.
"I'll do better than a pocket," I said, and slid my knife into my boot. Standing tall and straight in front of him, I raised my hands. "Say 'go' whenever you want."
He waited for a few seconds, then tilted his head and drawled, "Go."
I bent and grabbed my knife, then spun back up and released, sending the blade into the center of the target. Not the dead center, the spin threw me off slightly, but if I were aiming at a real person, they'd be dead. The whole thing took less than a second.
Gabriel nodded, his dark hair falling in front of his eyes. "Impressive. But hand-to-hand?"
"Excellent," I said, narrowing my eyes. "I've had a lot of practice."
"So I've heard." He stood there and looked at me. I felt heat rising into my face after a few seconds.
"Don't you have a school to be guarding or something?" I mutter, and stalk off to grab my knives out of the target. Of course he followed me, grabbing the knives out of the first target I used.
"Something like that. But another big part of my job is helping out. So I'm like a teacher's assistant, a guard, and whatever else anyone needs me to do."
I pulled hard to free my knives. "If I said I needed you to leave me to my throwing, would you leave?"
He walked up to me with my knives in hand as I struggled with my second. "Not unless you let me show you what you're doing wrong."
I jerked hard and the blade came free. "That's not likely to happen. I grabbed the knife and threw it in about a second and a half, and hit about a quarter of an inch from the center of the target. I'm pretty good."
"Yeah, but that half a second and quarter of an inch can mean your life. Please let me help you."
I looked at him for a moment. He seemed like the kind of guy who would not give up once he set his mind to something. "Fine," I said, and rolled my eyes at both of us. He grinned and we walked back to where I was standing before.
"First," he said, "you're holding your arm too rigidly. Looser, and lower, like this." He reached out and made as if to grab my wrist.
Now, the gym was huge. There were about a hundred and fifteen of us in here, all fighting and throwing things, so it was fairly loud. But as soon as his skin touched mine, it was like everything disappeared and it was just us. I saw through the charm but couldn't make sense of what I Saw. It was a rush of images, of people falling and crying and laughing. Five of them, over and over again.
I jerked my arm back and things went back to normal. "What happened to you before you came here?" I breathed, staring at Gabriel, wide eyed.
He shrugged and turned away. "I guess Stark didn't do as well as I'd hoped. Forget it. You're throwing it fine."
He made it about three steps before I jumped in front of him. "No. What happened? Were they your family?"
He flinched and walked around me. "That's none of your business."
"No," I said, catching him again. "You see, it is, now. I know, Gabriel. And if you think you're the only one with a crappy family situation, think again."
He stopped walking and looked at me. "I highly doubt you have anything as bad as I have. They were all killed, in a raid a few years ago. I'll never see them again."
I snorted. "Yeah, that is pretty bad. But would you rather have them taken from you or have them decide they don't want you. As soon as my parents found out I was a Seer, my dad threw me out and disowned me. My mother started drinking and as far as I know, hasn't stopped once since then. I was nine, Gabriel. My dad threw me out on the street and cut me out of the family when I was nine years old. At least you know your parents love you. At least they would probably come to your funeral if you died. If I died, and someone tried to tell my parents, my mother would be too tanked to know what was going on and as soon as my name came up, my dad would shut the door in their face."
A look came over his face, one that I'd seen many times before. He looked like he was staring at a kicked puppy lying in a gutter in the middle of a thunderstorm. "I didn't-."
"No!" I snapped. "Don't look at me like I'm a starving orphan. My parents don't love me and I don't know if they ever did. I'd much rather have had them killed in a battle than where they are now. Are you going to show me how to throw the damn knife or not?"
A flash of anger crossed his face. "Are you saying I'm lucky to have had my parents killed in front of me? Are you trying to tell me that I should just stop caring about them because other people have had crap lives as well?"
I resisted the urge to slap him. "No. I'm saying that I was literally tossed out of my house before I was old enough to come here and just about went into foster care. Human foster care. And your parents and brothers and sister were killed when you were sixteen, so you had to stay at your school year-round. But doing what we do, we can't mourn the dead. We have two choices- mourn the dead or take care of the living. I chose the living, and you should do the same, because otherwise you never will."
His head tilted slightly to the left and he studied me for a second. Just a second, before I Saw a spear come flying at me from across the gym.
I jumped and kicked, the spear crashing to the floor. Everyone near us froze and looked up.
Gabriel bent and grabbed the spear. It was just a regular practice one. Across the gym, a fourteen year old stood in a little bubble of space with a few fingers pointed at her, her face beet red.
Gabriel threw the spear so it slid to a stop at her feet. "If you were trying to kill her, it was a terrible shot. Go back to the still targets before you try hitting moving things."
She nodded quickly but set the spear back up against the wall before walking away stiffly.
"So," Gabriel said, turning back to me. "First, your arm is too rigid."
A/N: Please review! I feel a little discouraged at the lack of response and I have a lot of 'What ifs' going through my head.