|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|
"Lexie!" someone called as I rushed out of the gym. I turned and saw a guy my age who I didn't recognize.
"What do you want?" I snapped. He stopped in his tracks and watched me warily.
"I just- Ava sent me. She wants you in her office as soon as you can make it."
No. Not now. Not ever again, if I could help it. I was done being special. I could go get myself Sightblinded as soon as I graduated, and then it was all over. I would just be a normal Catcher. That was the end of it. And the start of it was not going up to that woman's office. At least until I had lunch.
"I'll head right up there," I lied, and set off to the cafeteria.
He caught up with me and grabbed my arm. "Hey, I was just wondering, do you have plans tonight?"
"Oh. Maybe some other time."
"Yeah, maybe." He looked disappointed and dropped off behind me.
It was a little after lunch, but it was also Saturday, so there was nobody there. And no food. They must have been right in the middle of switching out breakfast for lunch. If they had even done breakfast yet.
I waited and was out with a full stomach before more than five people got there. I got a few looks for being up and angry so early in the morning, but nobody spoke to me.
I wandered around for a few minutes, then decided I might as well go up to Ava's. I was not giving in. I was just bored. But, I was a little curious as to why she wanted me.
When I got to her office, there was someone shouting. A girl's voice, not Ava or Liandra. It sounded kind of familiar.
"Come in, Lexie!" Stupid Ava with her stupid ability to read my mind. "And you'll find that it's really not that stupid!" Damn.
I opened the door and stepped in. "Okay, new rule. If you get to Read me, I get to go back out there and un-charm this place. If you get to keep your gift, I get to keep mine."
She nodded to me. "I'm sorry. But you don't exactly have a quiet mind."
"Well, I have the whole school in here, so…"
She smiled. "Not in this room, you don't. I want to introduce someone to you. Lexie, Layla, Layla, Lexie."
The girl who was shouting just before I came in turned in her seat. She was pretty, and familiar, with big blue eyes and near perfect features. She had long blond hair with a black streak in the front, and looked about thirteen or fourteen. She looked angry. Actually, she looked like she was angry a lot.
"You're the one my sister cursed."
Sister. So that's why she looked familiar.
I nodded. "And you're the girl that was taken prisoner. It's only been around a week. How'd you get out?"
Her angry look twisted into a sneer. "Like they could have held me there for long. Two guards, a room made of wood, piece of cake."
"Layla's an Earth user," Ava explained.
I came forward and sat in the chair beside Layla. She never took her eyes off me. "So your sister's a Reader, you're an Earth. I would assume this means your family was exiled."
"Not exactly," Ava said. I looked at her. "When someone is forced to live among humans, to be a human, their children are sometimes born without powers. That's what happened to Layla's father. His mother was exiled, he was born without powers, but Laura and Layla were born with powers."
"Hold on a second," Layla interjected. "How could my sister have cursed you if she wasn't a Charmer? The most a Reader could do is make sure you can't be Read. And where is she, anyway?"
"She's in a carefully charmed cell below the school," Ava told her. "And she was possessed by a Catcher who used to be a Charmer. When spirits are in a fully solid body, they get their talents back. When they're actually spirits, or when they're just solid enough to fight, they are in essence humans."
"I wouldn't try calling a Catcher spirit a human," Layla said, sounding somehow bored. "They tend to get mad."
"You know who else gets mad? A Catcher who has to listen to a kid Wanderer act like she's an expert on the Catcher world."
Layla glared at me. I glared back. I know she had just been in a fight and a prison and that her sister was our prisoner here, but she was annoying and I was not in a good mood this morning.
Ava's hand hit the desk separating us and Layla jumped. I smirked. "Girls, now is not the time. Lexie, I don't know what happened this morning in your training session, but I hope you learn to control your temper. At least save your anger at Mr. Foster for Mr. Foster. And I hope for his sake you didn't hit him again."
I leaned back in my chair. "It's a little late for that."
Ava sighed and shook her head. "I can't have you attacking our guards every day, Lexie. Once more and I may have to discipline you."
"I'm rather surprised you haven't already."
She smiled sweetly. I didn't trust her one bit. "Well, I am putting you in charge of Layla for the time being."
"What?" we said together, and I scowled.
Ava kept smiling. "While she is up to her level in Earth, she is rather lacking in our other subjects, fighting not included. As long as she is here, you will have to spend at least three hours a day with her, tutoring her in our history and in Spirits, and answering all of her questions. Don't bother with things like math and English. They teach those in human schools, and being raised by humans, you can leave off on Human Studies."
Layla's eyes widened. "You study humans?"
"We find it handy to understand what it is we're protecting."
She slumped back in her chair. "Because you're doing such a good job of that."
It was that comment that finally got a reaction from Ava. "You need to improve your attitude, young lady. If you are to stay here you are to be trained as a Spirit Catcher. If you choose to leave you may, but this way you are close to your sister and at present, this is really the only place you can go."
Layla scowled and slumped farther down in her seat. "Fine. But I don't see the point to anything besides the specialized classes and fighting."
"Well, maybe," I started, but Ava silenced me with one of her famous stares.
"What Lexie means to say is that these are things are important to know, and anyway, you'll need them to graduate."
"I wasn't going to say exactly that," I muttered. "And you barely gave me a chance to start!"
Ava sighed. "Anyone who knows you can predict what you were going to say, Alexandra. Now the two of you can leave. I assume Lexie wants to get your hours together over as soon as possible, so don't try to leave her, Layla. And she is quite capable of dragging you around by your toenails and forcing you to listen if you choose not to cooperate."
"I'll do it," she muttered. "I want to be a Catcher, as much as it pains me to have to say it."
"Excellent," I said brightly, and stood up. "Because I am in the process of learning to throw things with my mind, and you can just ask my instructor how much you shouldn't make me want to practice on you."
She grumbled something under her breath and followed me out of the room. As soon as we were out in the hallway, the rush of knowledge came back to me, along with a great deal about Layla and her family. I stopped in my tracks and looked at her.
"What?" she asked, staring at me.
"Nothing." I shook my head and started off down the hall again. I couldn't help the smile that spread across my face.
We walked in silence for a long time, until we got outside. Then the questions started. They just weren't the ones I was expecting.
"What happened to your parents?"
I looked down at her. "What do you mean, my parents?"
She fidgeted a little. "Well, you already know what happened to mine, and Headmistress Ava started to say something about it but stopped. That means something happened."
I started to say nothing happened, that they were just at home or out fighting spirits like everybody else, but stopped. She was right- I knew practically everything about her and she knew nothing about me. "As soon as my father found out I was a Seer, he threw me out. And my mother started drinking. I haven't really spoken to either of them in two years."
She nodded thoughtfully, and started asking questions about the school. I explained to her the grading, the hours, the rules, what exactly it was that we did, and told her as much as I could about the prisons. "As far as I know, they're made of metal and concrete, the door is charmed with fire so only a Fire user can open it, and it's been charmed so that no spirits can get in. Which is good in this case, since it's because of a spirit she's in there."
We continued like that for our three hours, just asking and answering questions. She asked me some more about my family, and I asked her about the human world. I'd been out there twice since coming to the school, and even before that, Catcher parents keep tight hold of their children. It's actually kind of a sheltered life, now that I think of it.
"Well," I said, sitting up. We were lying in the grass beside a pond in the far corner of the grounds. "I guess that's three hours. We can go do whatever we want, now, or do you want me to show you to your dorm?"
"I guess you can show me to my dorm. Do I have to share?"
I stood up. She followed. "Most people do. I don't know if you will."
We walked back to the girl's dorm. And because my life sucks, we ran into Ian Gatling. At first he watched us as we passed, but then he fell into step beside me.
"Hello, daughter," he said, looking around me to Layla. "Funny, I seem to remember your friends to be older than that."
"Very funny, Gatling," I muttered. "And yeah, they are."
He looked almost disappointed. "It's your name, too."
I shook my head. "After you disowned me, I took Mom's maiden name. Her parents were the ones I went to after you banished me, and they really didn't care that I'm a Seer. I don't know if you've seen them since, but they really hate you. With good reason."
He shrugged. "Never really cared for them, either."
I sped up a little, making sure Layla could keep up with me. "I don't even know why you're here, if you hate me so much. You've had plenty of time to come and criticize my skills."
"Do you really want to know?"
The pain in his voice surprised me enough that I stopped. Layla kind of hung behind me, confused. I stared at the man in front of me. "Yes. No matter what, I want to know."
He sighed, and I realized for the first time that I couldn't See him. He had gotten himself fully charmed. I scowled. "Your mother is dead. I came to tell you."
The shock hit me like a wrecking ball. My mother was dead? How long ago? Why didn't I know before? What did she think of me? She cried when I left, and was drunk and not thinking straight last time I saw her. Last time I saw her. The last time I saw her. And it was two years ago. I hadn't seen my mother in two years and she was dead. Dead.
"How long ago?" I asked in a whisper.
"Two weeks," he answered, equally soft. Two weeks. So she's already had a funeral. And it had taken him two weeks to tell me about it.
"Did she want me there?" I turned my head away, trying not to spit on Gatling. "Did she want me to come to her funeral? Did she?"
He lowered his head in shame. That was what told me. She wanted me to be there. And he hadn't invited me. She had told him she wanted me there and he hadn't even told me she was dead until it was too late for me to come.
"You can join her," I spat, and turned to Layla. "Room thirty-four. Third floor."
I ran off before I did something I would regret. Layla called to me, but I just couldn't find it in me to care.
Kjersti found me a couple hours later, curled up on my bed. "Hey," she said, dropping something on her bed. "I haven't seen you all day. It's nearly seven. Oh, and by the way, I saw what you did to Gabriel. His bruise is way bigger than it was yesterday, and he's not very happy about it. In fact, I think he wants to kill you now. Hiding in your own room is not very smart. Hey, do you even hear me? Are you asleep?"
I rolled over. I hadn't been crying, but apparently my feelings were written all over my face. I wasn't even sure what I was feeling at this point. My mother was dead. I'd spoken to my mother once in the last eight years. And she had been drunk. And it was at my best friend's funeral. The only time in eight years that I had spoken to my mother and she had been drunk at my best friend's funeral. And now she was dead.
"What the hell happened?" she exclaimed. "Are you still angry about Gabriel?"
I must have looked angry. "No. I ran into Gatling."
She shook her head. "Things would make a lot more sense if you just referred to him as your father."
"He is not my father. That ended when I was nine years old."
She sighed. "But what did he say that got you so worked up?"
I rolled onto my back and stared at the ceiling. "My mother is dead."
Kjersti's expression completely changed. "Oh my God I am so sorry! I didn't think- I didn't know- I am just so sorry!"
"It's not your fault. And it's not like we were close. The last time I saw her was when she got herself tanked at Cole's funeral, and we didn't really exchange kind words."
She sat on the edge of my bed. "I don't know what to say…"
I looked over at her. "Say anything. Pour out your secret inner feelings about her. Tell me how much you hate her. Suggest we dig a hole to China. Try to set me up with an eleven year old. I will react how I always do. I really don't care right now. About anything."
She looked kind of uncomfortable. "Okay. Then we should go for a walk. Outside. Where you can't sulk in here and more importantly, Gabriel can't find you and kill you."
"Okay, sure." I rolled to my feet and grabbed my knife. Kjersti stared at me.
"Really? You're bringing that with you? Are you planning on killing something?"
"No," I answered as sweetly as possible, and opened the door, "but I may be killing someone. Let's just hope we don't run into the person I want to kill."
"Oh, you mean everyone?"
A/N: Hello readers! We're getting close to where the story really picks up. There's a lot of drama in the next few chapters just because I felt like it and after that there's going to be a lot more action and spirit angst stuff.
Is it just me, or is it just too much fun to write about doucebag characters? It's like, I'll get grounded if I punch my brother in the nose like I want to, so let's just go over to my laptop and add some nasty words and maybe a fight. And then you just get into and it's like, I actually like getting to be mean for once!